CINCINNATI — “The city of Cincinnati received proposals from seven companies willing to provide discounted rates on electric service using renewable resources. It’s part of an aggregation program authorized by Cincinnati voters in November and modified by Cincinnati City Council in February.
Cincinnati is trying to become the largest city in the country to source 100 percent of its energy supply from renewables, including wind, solar and biomass.
The city asked bidders to quote their best rates for electric rates from any source, including coal-burning power plants, nuclear and natural gas. It also asked suppliers to quote their best rate including the purchase of renewable energy credits, which are used to cleaner-burning power generation plants.
By offsetting the city’s consumption with renewable power generation, the city can claim its energy comes from up to 100 percent renewable resources.”
— Dan Monk, Cincinnati Business Courier
Read the whole story: http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/blog/2012/04/bidders-line-up-to-provide-renewable.html
— Kate Melges, Greenpeace
HAMILTON CO — “Residents of seven Hamilton County municipalities will have the opportunity to save about 24 percent on the generation portion of their electric bills starting in May, under an aggregation agreement with Dayton-based DP&L Energy.
The municipalities are the cities of Cheviot and Springdale; the villages of Amberley, Glendale, Lockland and Indian Hill; and Columbia Township. They agreed for the first time to pool their residential electric demand under aggregation provisions of Ohio’s electric deregulation law.
‘By working together I believe we ended with a better result than if we worked as individual communities,’ said Michael Burns, city manager in Indian Hill, which established the first area aggregation plan in 2001.
Under the agreement, the 15,000 residential customers in the seven communities will pay a generation rate of 4.5 cents per kilowatt-hour through May 2014, compared with Duke Energy’s current price-to-compare of 5.9 cents per kilowatt-hour.”
— Mike Boyer, Cincinnati Enquirer
Read the whole story: http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20120321/BIZ/303210092/7-areas-pool-electric-demand?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Business
CINCINNATI— In February, Cincinnati City Councilmembers unanimously passed a motion directing the city administration to include 100% renewable power as a part of the city’s request for proposals for residential and small business electric and gas contracts. The request was sent to all qualified electric and gas providers in the Duke Energy Ohio service territory and are due back by March 27 at 4 p.m. City Manager Milton Dohoney has the final say on which contract is signed.
There are three “products” the City will accept bids on for electric contracts:
1. Conventional Retail Electric Service
This product is based upon the cheapest price possible, regardless of the source of the energy.
This product would be backed by 100% matching Renewable Energy Certificates for all of the energy provided.
This is a variation of product #2, but would be a Renewable Energy Certificate commitment of less than 100% but greater than 12.5%, the current required renewable energy resource mix under Ohio law.
— Rachael Belz, Coal program organizer, Ohio Citizen Action
Link to full request
Some of the people who spoke at last night’s Cincinnati aggregation hearing posed on the steps of city hall. In attendance were members of Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP) from the University of Cincinnati, Occupy Cincinnati, Greenpeace, Ohio Citizen Action, Ecovillage, Sierra Club and many others. Photo: Joe Smyth, Greenpeace
CINCINNATI — On Election Day last November, Cincinnati voters overwhelmingly approved Issues 44 and 45, authorizing the city to negotiate group buying rates for electricity and natural gas — and provide savings to residents and small businesses. The process requires the city to hold two public hearings on the plan.
Last night was the first of two public hearings on aggregation in Cincinnati. There were 67 people in the audience, and 30 people gave testimony. Those who testified were overwhelmingly supportive of 100% renewable energy being a top priority for Cincinnati’s electric contract. Others also spoke out against natural gas that has been extracted by the method of hydrofracking.
The second public hearing will be held Monday, February 6 at 1 p.m. in Council Chambers at Cincinnati City Hall. I encourage everyone to come and speak out for cleaner and cheaper energy in Ohio on Monday.
— Rachael Belz, Coal program organizer, Ohio Citizen Action
CINCINNATI — “Cincinnati City Council will hold the first of two public hearings tonight on the city’s plan to form buying pools to seek lower electric and gas rates for residents.
The hearing before council’s Budget and Finance Committee will be held at 6 p.m. at city hall. A second hearing will be held Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. at city hall.
In November, city voters approved Issues 44 and 45 authorizing the city to negotiate group buying rates for electric and gas. The proposals were authorized under Ohio’s 10-year-old utility deregulation law, allowing municipalities and other organizations to combine, or aggregate, their purchasing power to seek better rates.
More than 300 municipalities across Ohio has since approved aggregation plans including some of the area’s largest townships such as Green, Springfield and West Chester in Butler County.
‘We have a tremendous opportunity to negotiate savings and put real money back in the pockets of city residents, so that we can enjoy the benefits of competition that other communities in the region have seen,’ said Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, who sponsored ordinances to put both measures on the ballot.”
— Cincinnati Enquirer
Read the whole story
CINCINNATI — “Last Election Day, Cincinnati voters overwhelmingly approved Issues 44 and 45, authorizing the city to negotiate group buying rates for electricity and natural gas. Qualls sponsored the ordinances to put the measures on the ballot.
More than 300 communities across Ohio have saved hundreds of millions of dollars on their electric bills since Ohio made this innovative tool — known as aggregation — available to communities in 2000. Aggregation has proven to be an effective way for residential and small business utility customers to save money. According to a report last fall by Ohio Citizen Action, electric rates negotiated by other buying groups in the area ranged from 2 to 3 ½ cents per kilowatt-hour less than Duke’s generation rate, or “price to compare.”
Vice Mayor Qualls has invited administrators from nearby communities to describe their programs and the savings they’ve achieved. Green Township Administrator Kevin Celarek will speak at the January 30 hearing; Springfield Township Administrator Michael Hinnenkamp will talk about the savings their communities have seen.
Once City Council and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio have approved a plan, the city administration will put the contracts out to bid, analyze the responses and recommend providers to the City Manager. The city will then notify residents of the terms of the contracts and how the program will work, including how residents can opt out if they wish. The city expects that the process should be completed ― and residents can start saving money on their monthly bills ― as soon as June 1.”
— Richard Todd, FOX19 News
Read the whole story
CINCINNATI — “Cincinnati voters approved electric aggregation in the city with a vote of 59% in favor, giving the go-ahead to form a community-buying group for electric that could provide substantial savings on electric bills.
When Ohio deregulated electricity in 1999, Ohio Citizen Action played a critical role in convincing the legislature to enact a new provision known as “public aggregation.” The effort to include aggregation was led by Ohio Citizen Action staff members Shari Weir and Jennifer O’Donnell. Ms. O’Donnell is Assistant to Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls. Vice Mayor Qualls introduced the ordinance in Cincinnati City Council this summer.
The aggregation law allows residents of municipalities or townships to vote to have their local government serve as their representative in negotiating with electricity providers. The provision greatly increases the bargaining power of residential customers, and can be used to secure lower electric rates, bargain for the sources of electricity, or devise creative energy efficiency plans.
Ohio Citizen Action worked hard to educate voters about issue 44 in Cincinnati by attending dozens of candidate and issue nights, appearing on WVXU’s “Impact Cincinnati” radio show with MaryAnn Zeleznick and released a report entitled “Plugging into savings: Communities lower electric bills through competition” which showed Greater Cincinnati area communities had saved millions of dollars through electric aggregation.
All told, Ohio Citizen Action has a 7-4 record in state and local ballot initiative campaigns, and has won the last five in a row.”
— Rachel Belz, Coal Program Organizer, Ohio Citizen Action
— Abby Miller, Record Herald
CINCINNATI — “If approved by voters, this measure would allow the city to form a ‘community buying group’ on behalf of Cincinnati residents to obtain a bulk discount on the purchase of electricity.
By harnessing the collective buying power of many people, the city will be able to better negotiate for lower power rates from competing firms vying for its contract. If any resident didn’t like the deal, he or she would be able to opt out and select another provider.
Aggregation already has been used with great success in nearby suburbs. Cheviot’s supply contract saved its residents 65 percent over Duke Energy’s best Ohio rate, while residents of Indian Hill save an average of $74 each month on electricity with a guaranteed rate.
So far, nine other Hamilton County communities have opted for electric aggregation. It makes good financial sense for Cincinnati to follow suit.
— Cincinnati CityBeat
• Pro Issue 44 — Dan Korman is owner of Park+Vine in Over-the-Rhine and a member of Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Cincinnati Inc.
• Con Issue 44 — Chuck Lanager is executive director of Global Energy Market Services, an energy broker and consultant licensed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
GREENE TWP, PA — “Operating under a new name, concerned residents in westernmost Beaver County are persisting with the same aim: convincing government to contain coal ash.
The Little Blue Regional Action Group, formerly known as Citizens Against Coal Ash, adopted a more regionally specific label after it was recently granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service. The Little Blue group — which also includes West Virginia and Ohio residents affected by the existing disposal — is now recognized as a public charity permitted to accept tax-exempt contributions.
The group’s vision remains firmly planted on coal ash activity at the federal and state levels.
To that end, the group is taking aim at a U.S. Senate bill — approved by the House of Representatives earlier this month — that would prevent the federal Environmental Protection Agency from listing coal ash as a hazardous waste and accelerating its regulation.”
— Bill Utterback, Beaver County Times
Read the whole story
CINCINNATI — “About 18,000 residents of six Hamilton County communities that have adopted electric aggregation are saving an average of $300 annually over Duke’s current rates, says Eagle Energy LLC., a Cheviot energy consulting firm which solicited competitive bids on their behalf. Those communities are Amberley Village, Cheviot, Glendale, Green Township, Indian Hill and Lockland.
Rachael Belz, coal program director for Ohio Citizen Action, a state-wide consumer group which is urging approval of the aggregation proposals, and Greenpeace issued a survey Monday of other area communities’ experience with aggregation.
‘I was impressed with the huge amount of money local communities have saved through electric aggregation. West Chester Township saved nearly $5 million in just 10 months with their new aggregation program,’ Belz said. ‘We have a real chance to put money back in people’s pockets by passing Issue 44.’”
— Mike Boyer, Cincinnati Community Press
Read the whole story
— Tabitha Clark, Marion Star
— Newark Advocate
Potential savings for Cincinnati residents nearly $20 million
CINCINNATI – A new report by Ohio Citizen Action shows that ballot measures authorizing Greater Cincinnati local governments to negotiate group buying rates have passed by wide margins and produced significant savings for residential and small business consumers in those communities.
In August, Cincinnati City Council approved ordinances sponsored by Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls to put Issues 44 and 45 on the November 8 ballot. If approved, the measures would authorize the city to use a tool that has allowed communities around the state and in Southwest Ohio to secure savings for residential consumers on their electric and gas bills by allowing competitors to bid for their business.
A potential competitor to Duke Energy Ohio has estimated that if voters authorize the city to negotiate a new group buying rate with Duke Energy Retail or another electric supply provider, competition could return nearly $20 million citywide – $200 to $250 annually per household – to consumers in savings on their electric bills.
— press release, Rachael Belz, Ohio Citizen Action
Read the report
Rachael Belz in the WVXU Studios.
CINCINNATI — “Next month voters will decide whether Cincinnati can aggregate, or combine energy customers within the city, to purchase retail electric and natural gas services. The bulk buying power of aggregation can reduce costs, but some say it shifts choice from the consumer to the city.
Coal Program Organizer with Ohio Citizen Action, Rachael Belz
Jim Drummond, Section Chief for Service Monitoring and Enforcement for PUCO
— WVXU Cincinnati
Listen to the broadcast
Kate Melges, Greenpeace Cincinnati organizer.
CINCINNATI — “This November, Cincinnatians have a unique opportunity to pave the way for our city to stop relying on Duke Energy’s dirty coal.
It was a great summer, but I am relieved that fall is finally here. I enjoy the sunny skies and warm weather that come with summer but I also dread it. Like many people, I worry about smog alerts; will my allergies and breathing problems be exacerbated by walking to work? In 2010, we were named one of the smoggiest cities in the country. On either side of Cincinnati, lie two coal-fired power plants owned by Duke Energy. The Beckjord and Miami Fort plants are old, out dated, and extremely dirty. These plants contribute to the numerous smog days we have yearly in Cincinnati and the tri-state area. The Beckjord power plant causes 140 deaths, 220 heart attacks and over 2,000 asthma attacks each year that it operates.
What does voting yes on 44 have to do with smog days and the Queen City’s air quality? Let me tell you how awesome it is. Issue 44, Electric Aggregation, allows us all to pool our purchasing power in order to negotiate lower electricity prices. As a group, we are able to have a strong voice that ensures better prices and protections for us as consumers. The community, as represented by the City of Cincinnati, would chose an energy provider based on economic and environmental factors as a means of having affordable, reliable, and clean energy.”
— Kate Melges, Cincinnati Beacon
Read the whole story