Electric and Gas Aggregation Program
The City of Maumee has operated an electricity and natural gas opt-out governmental aggregation for many years. Opt-out governmental aggregation allows the City to group eligible residential and small business energy consumers to help save money on their utility supply costs. This type of aggregation process is allowed under Ohio law passed in 1999 provided the voters approve.
The "Opt-Out" programs mean the all customers are included agreement unless they "opt-out" (and, provided they have not signed up with another supplier and that their balance is current at the time of the periodic enrollment).
After reviewing the potential savings opportunity for the residents and small business, Maumee decided in 2000 to put the issue of opt-out electric governmental aggregation (or grouping consumers) to the voters. That ballot question was approved overwhelmingly.
To increase the ability to negotiate the best deals possible the City joined the Northwest Ohio Aggregation Coalition (NOAC) which is currently comprised of many communities surrounding Maumee including the Cities of Northwood, Oregon, Perrysburg, Sylvania, Toledo and Waterville, the Villages of Holland and Ottawa Hills, Perrysburg Township and Lake Township in Wood County and Lucas County representing the unincorporated townships in Lucas County.
By combining Maumee's consumers with the participating communities’, NOAC has over 150,000 residential and small business participating for their electric purchases. Since its inception, the NOAC communities have collectively saved over $50 million compared to what they would have paid the Toledo Edison alone. This was achieved by contracting for the energy supply or 'generation' with a supplier other than Toledo Edison.
NOAC issued reviewing an RFP for power supplies. Maumee City Council has reviewed and approved the pricing under this program after responses were received from various suppliers of electrical power generated for consumers. The contract with FirstEnergy Solutions for power supply runs through May 2017 and offers 6% off the utility “Price to Compare” or PTC for residential participants and 4% off the PTC eligible commercial participants.
FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) initially mailed opt-out notices to the majority of the City’s participants in the summer of 2011 for a 3 year term. Since this is an opt-out aggregation plan, you do not need to do anything to enjoy the benefits of the program. Residents who received an "Opt-Out Notice" from FirstEnergy Solutions will automatically be enrolled in the program unless they respond to that notice. All accounts will still get monthly invoices from Toledo Edison. The only thing customers will probably notice is a small amount of savings and that the supplier name (FirstEnergy Solutions) will be listed.
As a safety mechanism, Ohio Law requires customers who do not Opt-Out to get a notice from Toledo Edison that the supplier switch is being made. This required notice helps assure the customer is aware the change in power supplier to NOAC has been recorded.
As required by Ohio Law, any participant will be provided an opt-out notice at least every 3 years so they may choose not to participate without penalty. Every 3 to 6 months FES mails a “refresh” mailer for those eligible consumers that have moved into the City or moved their residence.
Natural Gas NOAC OPT-OUT Letter NOAC Supply Agreement
A few years after the start of opt-out electric aggregation the State of Ohio determined that opt-out aggregation may also assist eligible natural gas consumers to save money on their invoices. Like electricity the City placed the issue of natural gas opt-out aggregation on the ballot. It was approved and in 2004, the City of Maumee was certified by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio as a certified governmental gas aggregator. The City also participates with NOAC for its natural gas supplies.
Through mid-2013, the NOAC customer that have participated in the natural gas program have saved over $13 million.
After performing an RFP, the NOAC communities selected VESI (Volunteer Energy Services, Inc.) as the gas supplier for NOAC communities in northwest Ohio. This agreement runs through April 2017. This, too, is an Opt-Out program and represents over 60,000 natural gas consumers.
VESI sent notices to all eligible gas customers in NOAC communities announcing an Opt-Out opportunity in November 2015. Those residential and small commercial accounts that do not Opt-Out are being supplied gas by VESI at a price that is 10% less than the Columbia Gas price. The actual cost of the gas during the term will be the NYMEX final settlement price plus no more than $0.1161 per CCF (hundred cubic feet).
The cost of the gas from VESI is included in the billing from Columbia Gas.
Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel
A great resource for consumers - the Consumer Assistance Handbook. This handbook provides information about how to read and understand your utility bills and utility meters; information on utility assistance programs and energy efficiency. There's also a resource list with information about other agencies and organizations. To view the handbook on line, go to: www.pickocc.org/publications/handbook
The utility billing process can cause confusion or concern. You can call the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) toll-free hotline for help with your utility disputes or questions. If you have a complaint or question about charges on your telephone bill, a meter reading problem or you need additional information about your utility service, the OCC can help.
Customer Service Representatives can be reached toll-free at 1-877-PICKOCC (742-5622) or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and are to respond to consumers' questions about utility services.
You can access utility information 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the OCC's automated Call Center. The Call Center's active voice response system allows consumers to, among many other options, request materials about specific utility issues, such as participating in natural gas choice programs and selecting a long distance telephone provider. You can also request free consumer assistance publications. The OCC website is another helpful alternative: www.pickocc.org
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
Information is available from the PUCO’s website including ‘Apples-to-Apples Comparisons” and calculation worksheets. Go to: http://www.puco.ohio.gov/puco/applestoapples/