Power program could go to vote

Tiffin City Council members considered an electric aggregation program Thursday evening at a Utilities and Related Services Committee meeting.

Rob Barkley, senior director of national accounts at American Electric Power Energy, spoke to the committee about a city electric aggregation program, which would allow the city to provide its residents with lower rates by choosing a preferred electric provider.

Barkley said the electric company would be able to charge lower rates due to more people buying from that company.

For the city to enact this program, the city is required to pass a resolution to put the issue on the ballot, he said. AEP also would provide information meetings for citizens to answer any questions they have regarding aggregated electricity.

Committee chairman Jim Roberts and committee member Joe Hartzell both spoke in favor of putting the issue on the ballot for the November general election.

Citizens who do not want to be included in the aggregated electricity program can opt out by filling out a form, which would be provided by the electric company the city selected. If residents do not decide to opt out, they automatically are to be added to the program.

Citizens also could withdraw from the program and choose a different electric provider without a termination fee, according to a frequently asked questions document from AEP.

Those who initially opt out of the program cannot choose to join at a later date.

The program lasts a maximum of three years and the city has an option to end the program, receive bids from other electric suppliers or continue the program.

Law Director Brent Howard said the city has until Aug. 7 to get the issue on the ballot for the election.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz recommended the committee meet again next week, so Howard can find out how much it would cost the city to put the aggregation program on the ballot.

“At the very least this issue goes on the ballot, if the people approve it and we don’t get the rates we want, we don’t have to do it,” Montz said.

He said he would support having the citizens vote on the issue, depending on how much it would cost the city to put it on the ballot.

In other business, Roberts said the Sunoco pipeline is “still in limbo.”

At a previous meeting with Sunoco, Montz gave a Sunoco representative a list of three requests, and the company has not responded to them yet.

“I’m not signing anything until I get them,” Montz said.