What is Energy Aggregation?
Over the past ten years, more and more Ohioans have been taking advantage of deregulation to help control the price they pay for their energy supply through something called an energy aggregation program. Instead of the utility company giving all customers the same default rate, deregulation encourages competition by giving customers a choice when it comes to who supplies their natural gas and electricity.
Governmental energy aggregation is a by-product of deregulation and a proven method for communities to help their constituents control energy costs, while providing economic benefit to the community at large.
Regardless of what you’re buying, it is common to get a discount when you’re buying in bulk. One for $5. Fifty at $4 each. One hundred at $3.50 each. Think of an aggregation program like this: instead of each household acting independently, city governments will act on behalf of its citizens and approach selected energy providers (like Volunteer Energy) and get bids to supply the best rate for the entire group. The goal is to get the lowest price available at that time.
Volunteer Energy has been supplying governmental energy aggregations for nearly two decades and serves over 125,000 customers in Ohio through energy aggregation programs.
So if my community has an energy aggregation program, how does it work?
The aggregating community will enter into a contract with a certified electric or natural gas supplier like Volunteer Energy on behalf of everyone in the group. Customers who have already chosen a supplier on their own or participate in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) are not eligible to participate in a governmental aggregation.
Most energy aggregation programs use an “opt-out” approach that includes eligible residents in the buying pool unless they opt out, typically by returning a postcard or letter through the mail by an established deadline.
An “opt-in” aggregation is one in which each customer is required to agree to participate in the aggregation program before being included in the buying pool. Some aggregated communities have joined together to create even larger buying groups.
For a consumer in an aggregated community, it is important to open any mail from aggregation groups, local governments and energy suppliers to obtain important details.
Does my utility billing or service change?
No. Your utility will still send you your bill, read your meter and handle emergencies. On the bill, the supplier (Volunteer Energy) will be listed as your supplier, along with the special rate negotiated for you. You’ll contact Volunteer Energy if you have questions about your rate, with all other calls going to your utility. (Learn more about what to know about your gas bill here.)
What if I’m not sure I want to participate in the energy aggregation program at this time?
Simple. You can “opt-out” prior to the start of the program, or at any time after the program starts, with no penalty.
What’s the catch to energy aggregation programs?
There really is no catch. We all know that there’s power in numbers. Energy aggregation programs allow communities to utilize collective buying power to negotiate pricing, which can be a nice benefit in today’s busy world.
If you have any questions about your participation in a governmental energy aggregation program, don’t hesitate to give us a call or contact us here. We are always here to provide our customers with support and address any questions or concerns you might have.
Customer Service: 800-977-8374