WILLIAMSON CO, IL — “Electrical aggregation is on the April ballot for at least 30 southern Illinois communities.
It’s a process that seeks the lowest rate for the supply portion of your utility bill by grouping everyone’s homes and businesses together in one large bundle.
Many local city leaders are encouraging voters to approve the referendum. ‘If we have a way to save them money, why not,’ said Crainville Mayor Ron Mitchell. ‘I’ve researched this pretty thoroughly talking to other communities that have already went with the electric aggregation and so far, I have found no downside.’
A middleman company will pool all of the residents and small businesses together in the communities that pass the referendum and try to negotiate a lower energy rate. For a large number of towns, including Crainville, that company is Select Energy.”
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DEER PARK — “As a result of the November election, in which Deer Park residents voted for gas and electric aggregation plans, residents will be included in gas and electric aggregation programs this spring.
City council voted in December to hire locally based Energy Alliances Inc.–Integrys Energy Services Inc. to provide a natural gas aggregation program, and with Duke Retail in February for electric aggregation services for the next three years starting in May.
Previously, Deer Park had an endorsement plan that allowed residents to “opt in” for savings and price protection. The success of this program over the past year lead to council placing natural gas and electric aggregation on the ballot in November so that better savings could be had by a broader number of residents.”
— Charles Tassell, guest column Cincinnati.com
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BLOOMINGTON, IN — “A new survey analyzing the deregulated electricity market in Illinois is drawing some negative conclusions, while acknowledging impressive savings consumers are realizing because of voter approval of electric aggregation referendums across the state.
The Citizens Utility Board, a statewide consumer watchdog group, has come up with a catalog of problems, including whether the savings being achieved today will stand the test of time, questionable sales pitches to consumers and a general lack of product innovation.
The Retail Energy Supply Association, an industry group for non-utility power suppliers, responded by saying its members followed strict guidelines for ‘good marketing practices’ and that it welcomed efforts to rein in “any bad actors” who give the power industry a bad name.”
— Tony Reid, Bloomington Patagraph
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COLUMBUS — “At least one energy company doesn’t like laws that allow cities to negotiate utility deals on behalf of residents. Dominion, the Virginia-based company, said in a conference call with investors that the growing use of these deals ‘frustrates choice.’
…The group-buying deals are often called “municipal aggregation.” Dozens of local governments have entered into new gas or electricity contracts in the last few years. Cincinnati, for example, has agreed to an electricity contract that will save money compared to the utility’s price.
It is no secret that many energy companies, not just Dominion, don’t like the deals because they lead to lower profit margins. And that, along with the hope of lower utility bills, is exactly why mayors and other local officials will fight if there is any attempt to take away their right to enter into the deals.”
— Dan Gearino, Columbus Dispatch
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Chicago and other communities buy cheaper, often cleaner energy for residents
Cincinnati buys power for its residents from FirstEnergy, which operates the Bruce Mansfield Power Station in Shippingport, Pa.
CHICAGO, IL — “More U.S. cities are jumping into the electricity-buying business, in an effort to capture cheaper—and often cleaner—power available through the open market.
Chicagoans passed a ballot measure last week that authorizes the city to buy bulk power on behalf of residents and small businesses, no longer leaving it up to the local utility. The move makes Chicago the largest U.S. city yet to start buying consolidated power, a growing trend known as community aggregation.
… Already, some communities are using aggregation to support renewable energy. Cincinnati signed contracts this year that lowered rates and require its supplier to purchase credits that benefit wind and other cleaner projects across the country.”
— Mark Peters and Rebecca Smith, Wall Street Journal
No link to full text. Subscription only.
ANDERSON TWP — “Anderson Township residents could see some electric savings this year if township officials move forward with an electric aggregation proposal.
Assistant Administrator Suzanne Parker said they’ve been looking at options for electric aggregation where township officials would negotiate with electric companies for a lower rate, with the average price falling between 4 cents and 6 cents per kilowatt hour.
…If everything goes smoothly, the trustees could consider the electric aggregation program at the July 19 meeting. If the trustees approve this program, Parker said they’d work to educate residents about potential savings.”
— Lisa Wakeland, Forest Hills Journal
CINCINNATI — “Cincinnati’s electric aggregation program has now officially been in place for more than a month.
City spokeswoman Meg Olberding said some residents should notice a change soon.
‘So folks in the city who are now part of this will start seeing the savings reflected in their July bills,’ Olberding said.
Voters approved electric and gas aggregation last November. It lets officials negotiate lower rates for these services as a large buying block.”
— Jay Hanselman, WVXU
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CINCINNATI — “Eligible residential and small business customers are now receiving their welcome packet for the new buying group formed after voters authorized the City to negotiate group savings for electricity and natural gas last fall. Read the City Manager’s most recent memo, including Q&A about the buying group, here.
Consumers who want to take advantage of the buying group savings of 23 percent, estimated at just over $133 per year for the average household, need do nothing. If you receive the welcome packet, you are automatically enrolled in the city buying group and will realize savings under the new contract with FirstEnergy Solutions in 30-45 days. However, customers should not sign on with a new supplier in the meantime. Energy suppliers are marketing aggressively to sign consumers up before the City’s buying group starts operating.
Read more about the City’s groundbreaking contract for cheaper electricity backed by 100 percent Renewable Energy Credits here.
The City will begin the process of negotiating natural gas prices in June.”
– Roxanne Qualls, Vice Mayor, City of Cincinnati
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND May 8 —“The people of Cincinnati, Ohio, have recently begun to take decisions about where their electricity comes from into their own hands. A group called Ohio Citizen Action – the largest environmental and consumer advocacy group in the state – teamed up with Greenpeace to help organise public support for putting a ballot initiative in front of the city’s local authorities. That initiative allowed the City to bargain for electricity on behalf of its residents with the goal of reducing cost and prioritising renewable energy sources. Rachael Belz was one of the key figures behind the campaign – she is the Cincinnati Program director for Ohio Citizen Action – and spoke to Will Pollard from 95bFM.”
— Will Pollard, News and Editorial Director, 95bFM, Auckland, New Zealand
Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls presented the award to Ohio Citizen Action Coal Program Organizer Rachael Belz.
CINCINNATI — The Local Energy Aggregation Network (LEAN Energy U.S.), a national organization promoting “community choice” for electricity, has awarded Ohio Citizen Action as “Community Choice Advocate of the Year” in honor of its public aggregation campaign in Cincinnati. Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls presented the award to Ohio Citizen Action Coal Program Organizer Rachael Belz, who led the campaign, at a party in Belz’s honor this weekend.
Ohio Citizen Action was instrumental in passing Ohio’s community choice, or public aggregation law, in 1999. The law allows communities to vote to form a city-wide buying group for electricity. Last fall, Qualls led Cincinnati City Council to put the aggregation measure on the ballot. The measure passed by a vote of 59-41%. In response to the public’s call for the use of cleaner and cheaper energy, Cincinnati became the first big city in the country to choose to purchase 100% renewable energy for its residents.
— Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action
Rachael Belz will discuss Ohio Citizen Action’s successful efforts to provide Cincinnati citizens with a clean energy alternative to Duke Energy.
AURORA, IN — “Liberal Fix RadioThe May 4th edition of Liberal Fix radio will feature special guest Rachael Belz of Ohio Citizen Action. Together Rachael and host Dan Bimrose will discuss exactly how Ohio Citizen Action was able to help provide Cincinnati citizens with a clean energy alternative to energy super power Duke Energy.
In addition to covering all the latest progressive and liberal news stories Dan will complete the show with a special commentary on Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan.
Liberal Fix Radio is a Bimrose Progressive Media project and was preceded by their flagship blog Liberal Fix.
You can listen to Liberal Fix Radio live every Friday at midnight on their show page. LIBERAL FIX RADIO”
— Dan Bimrose, Bimrose Progressive Media — SBWIRE
Continue reading Ohio Citizen Action’s Rachael Belz to appear on Liberal Fix Radio
CINCINNATI — “Spread across a number of hills and bluffs overlooking the Ohio River, Cincinnati, the ‘Queen of the West’ — an epithet from its early years acknowledging its commanding growth and enterprise — long has been partial to electricity produced from coal. For decades, the conservative city on Ohio’s southern border with Kentucky has been powered almost exclusively by giant plants along the river. From Cincinnati Gas & Electric to Cinergy to Duke Energy Ohio, utilities have kept the electrons coming, helping to keep the lights on for some 300,000 Cincinnatians. Coal currently fuels an estimated 85% of the city’s electric generation. But no more. On Wednesday, City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. made a decision that could reverberate through the region. This summer, Cincinnati will become the first major city in the US to supply 100% “green” power to eligible residential and small business customers. . . .
In November, Cincinnati easily passed a referendum authorizing the city government to pool its power purchases in a bid to cut energy costs. In February, the city issued a request for proposals seeking both conventional and renewable energy [to supply nearly 1 million megawatt-hours annually]. Environmental advocacy groups such as Ohio Citizen Action, with headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, lobbied the city to move away from coal and in the direction of green, sustainable energy. Dohoney said he began his decision-making process ‘with no pre-determined outcomes in mind. This process provided the opportunity to promote renewable energy, and places Cincinnati as a national leader, at the forefront of green energy in this country. That is where we want Cincinnati to be.’
Rachel Belz, Ohio Citizen Action’s coal program coordinator and a Cincinnati resident, called the green power decision ‘very exciting. Obviously, the fact that it’s 100 percent renewable energy through renewable energy credits is exactly what we were looking for.’”
— Bob Matyi, Platts Electric Utility Week, April 30, 2012, subscription only, no full text
CINCINNATI — “This is big news.
The announcement is the culmination of a campaign that started last fall, when Ohio Citizen Action and Greenpeace ran a successful ballot initiative to allow the City to bargain for electricity on behalf of its residents. The voters passed the initiative by a resounding 59-41 percent. In February, the coalition was successful in rallying the citizens of Cincinnati to give the city a clear mandate to supply 100 percent renewable energy and no ‘fracked’ natural gas. The Council responded with resounding approval of the people’s demands, unanimously passing a motion asking bidders to include a 100 percent Renewable Energy Credit option (in addition to a lowest cost electricity option).
…A renewable energy future for the city of Cincinnati is great news; it is a great first step in the direction we need to go as a nation. It is time to see real, deployed, and distributed renewable energy solutions across America.”
— Phil Radford, Greenpeace and Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action
Continue reading Cincinnati dumps Duke Energy
CINCINNATI — “Cincinnati hopes its energy supply will soon be cheaper and greener.The city said Thursday it will be the first major city in America to choose a 100 percent ‘green’ electricity supply for its eligible residents and small businesses while saving as many as 53,000 households money through the city’s Government Aggregation Program.The city has selected First Energy Solutions as the city’s new electricity provider through an aggregation process in which the city represents all eligible individual customers as one larger buying unit to negotiate a lower price on electricity.”
CINCINNATI — “Cincinnati will be the first major city in America to choose a 100% ‘green’ electricity supply for its eligible residents and small businesses while saving as many as 53,000 households money through the City’s Government Aggregation Program.
The City has selected First Energy Solutions (FES) as the City’s new electricity provider through an aggregation process in which the City represents all eligible individual customers as one larger buying unit to negotiate a lower price on electricity. Specifically, Cincinnati is collectively becoming a giant consumer to whom the green energy market can sell.
FES’s selection will save the average eligible household approximately $133 per year on their electricity bills. Energy aggregation was proposed by City Council and approved by voters in November 2011.”
— Meg Olberding, Communications Director, City of Cincinnati
Continue reading Cincinnati becomes first major city to offer 100% green electricity to residents