On Nov. 8, Hilliard voters will be asked to grant the City the authority to establish an eco-friendly community-wide electric aggregation program.
If approved, Issue 35 would allow the City to negotiate a bulk rate for electricity produced from sustainable sources, such as solar and wind. All Hilliard residents, businesses, and other consumers of electricity will be eligible to take advantage of the negotiated rate.
Electric customers will be able to opt out of the program at any time.
There are two main goals for this aggregation:
- Promoting the use and creation of electricity produced by clean, sustainable sources; and
- Getting the lowest-possible bulk rate the City can negotiate for sustainably sourced electricity for residential, business, and other electric consumers.
A “Yes” vote will indicate a voter approves of authorizing this option for the City of Hilliard. It does not mean the City will immediately – or necessarily ever – act on this voter-granted authority. The City would only establish the aggregation program if and when it can negotiate a favorable electric rate for sustainably sourced electricity.
“By voting to place Issue 35 on the ballot, City Council is supporting its ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Dan Ralley, Assistant City Manager. “All electricity will either be sourced from solar, wind or other environmentally sustainable means or will be acquired in the form of renewable energy credits purchased from elsewhere in the country.”
Ralley emphasized that because consumers will always have the choice to opt out, an aggregation program increases customer choice.
“A ‘Yes’ vote doesn’t remove choice,” Ralley said. “It just authorizes the City to negotiate for a bulk rate for sustainably sourced electricity. Opting out will be as simple as completing an online form or returning a provided postcard. Regardless of their choice, residents will continue to receive the same level of service on the same power lines that they do today.”
Voters in Columbus, Worthington, and Grove City have already made the commitment and authorized their municipal governments to establish green-energy aggregation programs.
Electric prices constantly fluctuate, and the economics of green energy production are different than coal and natural gas-based production. So, there is no guarantee how Hilliard’s negotiated bulk rate for sustainable electricity will perform over time compared to the price individual customers will pay on the open market. By leveraging the power of aggregation in negotiating prices, we would be seeking the most competitive rate possible for this sustainably sourced electricity.
“Even if Issue 35 passes, it is likely the City will wait until energy markets stabilize before asking electricity providers to offer proposals,” Ralley said. “We’re putting this question before voters now so we will be ready to negotiate a competitive rate when the market looks most favorable.”