Regardless of savings guarantees, some Madison Township residents would like to opt out of the new electric aggregation program -- but they never received the necessary opt-out letter that would allow them to do so.
All residents who are eligible for the aggregation program were supposed to have received opt-out letters from the new provider, Border Energy, which were to be returned prior to an Oct. 15 deadline to allow those residents to continue their services through American Electric Power.
Township Administrator Susan Brobst said the township has been aware of the problem and will hold a special opt-out assistance session to help residents before they are locked into the new program. The session is scheduled from 8 to 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Madison Township Community Center, 4575 Madison Lane.
Brobst also said new letters will be mailed to residents who were missed in the original mailing, and they will be given another 21 days to respond if they choose to opt out.
Once a resident is locked into an annual contract with Border Energy, he or she will have to pay a $25 early termination fee if they choose to revert back to AEP, she said.
"We have a list here of people who will be switched unless they choose to opt out, but there are reasons some people won't be on the list, even if they didn't already opt out, and those people also won't be switched to the new program," Brobst said.
Those reasons include residents who have already selected their own electric supplier, residents currently under special contract, residents not within the aggregation boundaries or whose names appear on a "do not aggregate" list; and, business sites using more than 700,000 kwh per year.
Madison Township voters approved a ballot measure last spring allowing township administrators to negotiate the electrical aggregation contract, which was ultimately awarded to Border Energy, providing a guaranteed 15-percent savings below AEP's current rate per billing cycle.
Some residents were concerned because, according to trustee Victor Paini, the contract does not allow for budget billing. He said Madison Township residents who need to remain on a budget billing plan should opt out of the township aggregation program at this time.
Resident Matt Campbell, who said he chose to opt out for this reason, told ThisWeek he had to specifically ask for an opt-out letter because he hadn't received one.
Campbell said he's heard from others who also had received no letters but who also want to remain on a plan that offers budget billing.
"Budget billing is a critical lifeline to those with a single income, or fixed or low-income households," Campbell said. "The guaranteed 15-percent discount would be on the actual monthly usage rate, which for me would go from say, $100 per month to potentially $300 per month -- which, with a 15-percent discount, is $255."
Campbell said even with the promised savings, that is a significant jump, and he doesn't know if he can handle the fluctuation -- meaning he'll miss out on the savings.
Residents with questions about their status of remaining with AEP-provided service or going to the new Border Energy contract can contact township energy consultant Scott Belcastro at Trebel LLC, at 866-861-2772.