Worthington City Council: Electricity-aggregation program renewed with AEP Ohio

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group

Worthington City Council on March 15 voted to renew its electricity-aggregation program for another 24-month term. 

The program allows the city to purchase electricity in bulk as a governmental aggregator for its residents in an agreement with AEP Ohio, with the intention of negotiating cost-savings on their behalf. The electricity is sourced through 100% renewable sources

The Worthington Municipal Building at 6550 High St.

Rich Surace, COO of Energy Alliances – a consulting group that has worked with the city throughout its participation to help it with implementation and selection of its best options – told council members that residents would pay a fixed rate of 5.186 cents per kilowatt hour throughout the next term. 

Residents paid 5.069 cents per kilowatt hour throughout the first 24-month term, which expires in June.

Although the rate is slightly higher than the previous two years, City Council president Bonnie Michael said, officials anticipate AEP rates rising in the next two-year term. 

“(The rate) is slightly higher than we have been (paying), but it’s slightly better than the anticipated increase that should be coming,” Michael said. 

Residents, who approved the aggregation program in November 2018, automatically are enrolled in the program but may opt out at any time.

Cost savings have been mixed since the program began in 2019. Savings were larger during the first half of the first term from June 2019 to May 2020 but have leveled out since then, Surace told council in a presentation March 8, saying the increases mostly are due to AEP rate adjustments. 

In the program’s first five months, 4,000 participating residences and small businesses saved approximately $46,000 in energy costs.

Surace said the average Worthington resident has saved approximately $8 through Jan. 2021. 

“We may say $8 over two years is not a lot; however, I think the biggest thing is that investment in renewable energy,” Surace told council March 8. “The average resident has been able to save a little bit of money – so not sacrificing any financials – yet being able to bring a significantly superior product to the market compared to just taking AEP Ohio’s default service.” 

“We didn’t have a huge cost savings, but we also didn’t have a dramatic increase,” council member Beth Kowalczyk said during council’s March 15 meeting. “So we were basically supporting renewable energy as the main objective.” 

Michael said council has been pleased overall with the program and its results due to the cost savings it has generated and its support of clean-energy initiatives. 

“Overall, I think council has been pleased with the opportunity to do the aggregation, as well as to be able to purchase clean-energy credits,” she said. 

For more information, go to worthington.org/electric

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve