FREDERICKTOWN — Village residents may have a chance to save money on their electric bills if they approve an issue on the March 6 ballot.
Voters will be asked to authorize the village council to contract with an energy broker to get better electric rates for residents on the amount charged for electric generation.
“It’s similar to the gas aggregation that was approved about three years ago,” Village Administrator Gary Gallogly explained. “If council can get a better contract, then everyone who has not already signed with a supplier other than American Electric Power will automatically be included in the new rate.”
However, if residents prefer stay with AEP or seek their own service deal, they can “opt out” of the aggregation plan.
Gallogly said that if the village cannot obtain a deal that will save residents money, it will simply not sign a contract and village residents will go on with their present service.
The one obstacle to setting up the plan, Gallogly said, is AEP’s proposal to limit the number of customers who can leave their service or “migrate,” to 20 percent in the first year.
If the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approves AEP’s proposed limit, the village “may or may not” be able to get a contract. But if it can, Gallogly said, more people will be able to migrate away from AEP each year.
“We’re just looking at a way for people to save over their current AEP rates,” Gallogly said, noting that gas aggregation has given residents gas rates about 8 or 10 percent below the rate charged by Columbia Gas.
Contracting with a broker won’t cost the village a fee, either, Gallogly said, as the broker’s fee for negotiating a deal comes out of the contract.
Under the gas plan, Gallogly noted, the village even gets back a small percentage of the rates paid. Last year, he said, the village received about $1,400 from the gas contract.
The aggregation plan will apply only to persons living within the corporate limits of Fredericktown.