What is Gas Aggregation?
An aggregator is a person or organization that brings a group of customers together.
- Objective better pricing for the group members, “buying power”.
- Ohio’s law allows for local government aggregation by cities, villages, townships or counties.
- Aggregators are certified by the PUCO to ensure they are qualified.
Opt-out aggregation is a program that automatically enrolls, unless they opt-out of the program and choose not to be included.
Opt-out aggregation has requirements, including the following:
- A majority of voters must authorize opt-out aggregation in an election.
- If authorized by a majority of the vote, form a plan of operation and management.
- Hold at least two public hearings to allow consumers to voice any concerns over the proposed plan.
- Once the plan has been adopted, each consumer that is to be aggregated must be notified that they will be automatically enrolled in the program unless they specifically elect not to participate. This notification must also state the rates, charges, and other terms and conditions of enrollment in the program.
- The local government must allow anyone enrolled in the program an opportunity to opt-out.
Some things to consider about government aggregation:
- You will not need to sign a contract; you are automatically enrolled unless they opt-out.
- Those who do not opt-out are in a government aggregation area and are automatically included in the municipality’s aggregation. If you do not opt-out and choose a new supplier, you will be a customer of the government aggregation program.
- To remain with your local utility you will need to opt-out of program and switch to your local utility.
Choosing a buying group
Things to consider when choosing a buying group, here are some things to think about:
- The goal of the buying group—will the aggregator be looking for the lowest price, sources used to generate the energy or additional services when finding a supplier?
- Number of group members—larger groups will usually have better “buying power.”
- Length of the contract—how long is the contract, and how will it be renewed?
- Terms and conditions—be sure you read and understand them, including membership requirements, how you will be billed, and any fees.
For natural gas aggregation, customers who are already enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP Plus) are not eligible. PIPP Plus is an extended payment arrangement based on a percentage of the household income for those customers who are at or below 150% of the federal poverty income guidelines.
For natural gas aggregations, the only other customers who are not eligible to participate are those that are already under individual contracts with suppliers as part of a customer choice program. These customers will not appear on eligible customer lists provided to the governmental aggregator or the governmental aggregator's chosen supplier, and they should not receive the “Opt-Out” notice.
It’s important to note that if you recently switched to a new supplier, there is a possibility that your name was not removed from the eligibility list. You should return the opt-out notice if you do not wish to be switched to the aggregation’s supplier. That is a decision for you to make. You will want to talk to your chosen supplier if you are considering switching to the aggregation's supplier to find out if there are penalties for early cancellation of the contract.
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