Local governments can use the buying power of many customers in their communities to purchase electricity or natural gas on their behalf through aggregation. While savings (from the utility’s standard offer) are not always guaranteed, many communities are able to obtain discounted prices from energy marketers to offer to customers in the community.
There are two types of energy aggregation programs that may be available to consumers: “opt-in” aggregation and “opt-out” aggregation.
In an opt-in plan, customers may voluntarily sign up to participate if a government body or other type of organization chooses to aggregate. In an “opt-out” plan, consumers are automatically enrolled in the aggregation plan unless they affirmatively choose not to participate.
In order for communities to offer an opt-out energy aggregation program, they must first obtain voters’ approval in a local election. If the voters approve the proposal, the local government must develop a plan, hold at least two public hearings, and notify its residents of the plan, including details such as rates and other terms and conditions of the energy offer. The notice must include the option for consumers to opt-out of the energy aggregation offer. An example of an opt-in aggregation would be where community organizations (such as civic organizations and churches) aggregate energy purchases for their members.
To learn more about aggregation as a form of energy choice, the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel offers you the following publications: