By Matt Clevenger
TROY — Voters in Troy, Huber Heights and the city of Union will see issues regarding natural gas and electric aggregation on the ballot during the primary election on Tuesday, May 2.
In Troy, voters will decide if the city should join an aggregation program for natural gas through the Miami Valley Communications Council (MVCC). Electric rates are already subject to aggregation, under a separate agreement.
Average households can expect to save approximately $50 to $100 per year on their gas bill under aggregation, Troy Development Director Tim Davis said during a recent meet-the-candidates-night presentation on Thursday, April 13.
“A ‘yes’ vote would allow for the city to use its purchasing power to secure a discount for residences on natural gas,” Davis said. “Residents and small businesses will be enrolled in the program by default, if it is passed on May 2, however they can opt-out at any point in time, and there is no fee.”
The MVCC is a municipal communications and technology organization based in Centerville.
“Essentially, what they do is inter-governmental projects, including energy aggregation programs,” Davis said. “It is their goal to get savings for communities through the economy of scale through a joint bid to produce lower rates.”
“Instead of the city of Troy having their approximately 11,000 households go out and seek a bid, what we’re doing is joining the MVCC and their affiliate members, so maybe there’s 300,000 households getting that bid,” he said.
Residents can also choose to opt-out of the aggregation program with no penalty.
“There is no fee to opt-out of the aggregation program,” Davis said. “If you can negotiate a better price on your own and it fits your budget better, by all means go to a different supplier.”
“The gas aggregation program offers a high cost-savings potential, with very little risk,” he said. “The reason we expect to have these cost savings is because we have had an electric aggregation program since 2011, and with that program the savings throughout the first two contracts has exceeded $5 million.”
Voters in Huber Heights will also decide if the city should join an aggregation program for natural gas. Like Troy, Huber Heights already aggregates electric rates under a separate aggregation agreement.
“The city uses Energy Alliance as our energy consultant,” Huber Heights City Engineer Russ Bergman said. “They will be working for the city to explore the opportunity of starting a gas aggregation program.”
“We won’t know the savings until we go out for prices,” Bergman said. “With natural gas, the default price changes every month.”
Residents will automatically be included in the gas aggregation program if it passes, and the program will also offer an option for residents to opt-out, if desired.
“Residents can either return the opt out reply form that will be sent to them, call the chosen supplier and opt-out over the phone, or go online to the supplier’s website and enter a 10-digit opt-out code,” Bergman said.
The city of Huber Heights has had an electric aggregation program since 2016.
“It is also an opt-out program, with Energy Harbor as the electric generation supplier at a rate of 8.59 cents per KWH through September of 2025,” Bergman said.
Voters in the city of Union will be asked to decide if the city should join MVCC aggregation programs for both electric and natural gas rates.
“By voting YES for electric and natural gas aggregation, you will allow your local elected officials to partner with other MVCC communities to purchase electric and natural gas at a competitive rate,” a press release issued by the city of Union on Tuesday, April 11 said. “Once passed, all eligible residents and small businesses in the community will be enrolled and will begin receiving the discounted generation pricing under the program.”
“Residents do not need to do anything to join the program,” the release said. “However, anyone who does not want to participate in the program can easily opt-out by returning a form, which will be mailed to all eligible members.”
“This is for residents and small businesses that have AES and Centerpoint as your utilities,” the release said. “AES will still be responsible for the delivery of electricity to your home or business. They own the wires and poles that deliver power to you; therefore, they will continue to read your meter and restore power after an outage. Centerpoint will still be responsible for the delivery of natural gas supply to your home or business. The utility still maintains the pipeline system that delivers power to you and will continue to read your meter and take care of repairs and gas leaks.”