Windham residents will once again see two issues relating to the aggregation of energy on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The measures give Village Council the authority to aggregate, or combine, utilities users into a single group for the specific purpose of using the collective power of a group to get discounts on energy consumption fees -- one for gas and one for electric.
The ballot measures are being backed by the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, a non-profit organization that manages energy aggregation for more than 175 communities in 10 counties across Northeast Ohio. NOPEC is governed by a general assembly made up of representatives from each community, meaning someone from Windham would be selected to represent the village.
Charles Ramer, senior relationship Manager at NOPEC, said the ballot measures "will give the village the authority to consider an aggregation program, which would then give it the authority to join NOPEC."
NOPEC acts as a council of governments, using a group of energy buyers to bargain for discounted energy prices only achievable through bulk purchasing. That council would manage the program on behalf of the village, meaning any and all necessary paperwork would be filed by the aggregate.
If approved, the village will be required to host two townhall meetings before the process begins, and an opt-out program will be available for those who don't wish to be a part of the program.
Windham residents would not notice a change in service if they approve the aggregation process. In fact, residents would likely see a saving on both electric and natural gas utility bills if the measures pass and the village joins NOPEC.
For electric bills, residential customers could expect to see a six percent savings each month and on their total bill. Additionally, a one percent saving could be applied.
That 6 percent is guaranteed saving each year, but the 1 percent additional savings would depend on if the General Assembly votes to approve of it.
While those electric rates apply to residential users, commercial users can expect 4 percent savings with the additional 1 percent possible.
Natural gas savings would be "below what you'd pay with a regular service," Ramer said. Currently, NOPEC charges $2.61 per mcf (1,000 cubic feet) under its regular program price. Under the variable price program, however, users could expect to pay $2.882 dollars per mcf compared to Dominion's $2.902 per mcf.
As a representative of the government, Ramer said he cannot directly advocate for residents to vote for the aggregation approval in November. However, he said that if voters "look at the benefits and see how much they can save by pulling together, they would vote in favor of it."