MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP – Problems have emerged for some Mad River Township residents and small businesses as township officials move forward with implementing the township’s electric aggregation program this summer.
Opt-out letters for eligible Ohio Edison customers were slated to be delivered to small business and residents residing in the Village of Enon and Mad River Township by the first week in June. However, a number of Enon residents and businesses in THE 45323 and 45592 ZIP codes have not received the required opt-out letter from the contracted provider, IGS Energy.
“We were told that the problem lies with Ohio Edison,” Mad River Township Trustee Kathy Estep said during Monday, June 15 township meeting. “Ohio Edison was supposed to supply a list of customers to IGS Energy, but IGS did not receive the list of customers who have Enon addresses.”
According to Estep, the primary purpose of the letter is to explain the negotiated rate and other conditions of the two-year aggregated contract and to give township residents and small businesses the opportunity to opt out of the program by the deadline date. She noted that letters would be mailed to customers who were not included in the initial mailing, and they would be allotted addition time, beyond the originally established deadline, to respond if they choose to opt out of the program.
“Trebel and IGS have submitted complaints to Ohio Edison because the company did not provide a complete list of names and addresses of individuals and businesses residing in the village,” Estep said.
Township Trustee Robert McClure Jr. expressed his concerns about the confusion and the fact that residents and small businesses that choose to participate in the aggregation program may mistakenly opt out by the deadline date.
Estep said the township trustees were also aware of another issue that some township residents had encountered. A number of customers received a letter from Ohio Edison warning them that they may be charged an early termination fee if they choose to participate in the electric aggregation program now and then, choose to opt out of the program at a later date.
“This is not the case at all,” said Estep. “Our contract with IGS Energy precludes that charge. If customers are not satisfied with the rates, they can opt out at any time during the two-year period without being penalized.”
In April, township trustees approved a two-year contract that Trebel, LLC, an energy consulting firm, negotiated with IGS Energy for an electric supply fixed rate of 6.83 cents per kilowatt hour.
Under the terms of the contract, residents and small businesses are automatically enrolled in the program unless they have already signed contracts with other retail electric suppliers. Therefore, residents and small businesses that choose to participate in the township aggregation program do not respond to the letter. Ohio Edison customers, who choose to opt out of the program, will be asked to fill out an opt-out form included in the letter and return it within 21 days.
“There is no cost to the township because Trebel receives its revenue from the electric supplier,” Estep explained. “Also, the township does not profit from the aggregation program.”
Once customers are enrolled in the aggregation program, Ohio Edison will send a confirmation letter to township residents and small businesses that did not respond to the opt-out letter, reminding them of the pending switchover to the aggregation program. At that time, those customers will have another opportunity to opt out of the program by contacting Ohio Edison within seven days.
Estep emphasized that residents and small businesses would not be charged for enrollment, and consumers participating in the aggregation program would continue to receive a single billing statement from Ohio Edison. Ohio Edison will also be responsible for maintaining the power grid that delivers the electricity, and customers will continue to report any power outages and other issues to the Ohio Edison customer service department.
Ohio Edison customers enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP Plus) or a monthly budget plan (level billing) are not eligible to receive the 6.83 cents per-kilowatt-hour fixed rate. Consequently, customers, who choose to remain on any type of budget plan, need to opt out of the electric aggregation program by the deadline date.
“Unfortunately, Trebel could not obtain these rates if customers on any budget plan were included in the program,” Estep explained.
Mad River Township voters, including the Village of Enon, approved two ballot measures in November that allow township trustees to negotiate an electrical aggregation contract, as well as an aggregated natural gas contract. However, gas rates are low at this time, and negotiating natural gas rates would not be profitable.
Consumers, who are seeking any information regarding electric and natural gas supplier choices, are encouraged to visit the “Apples to Apples” website at www.energychoice.ohio.gov to compare rates among retail electric suppliers.
Customers with questions or who choose to opt out of the program can contact township energy consultant Joe Garrett or consultant Scott Belcastro at Trebel, LLC, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-861-2772.