The Oak Harbor Village Council will be asking voters to approve the implementation of a natural gas aggregation program, which could save residents approximately 8% on monthly utility bills.
Effective Natural Gas Aggregation programs may be implemented in villages in Ohio, but only if approved by a majority of voters during an election. Issue 2 addresses the Oak Harbor proposal.
“The Village would like to implement this program to save Oak Harbor residents money,” said Mayor Quinton Babcock. “We can only do so with their permission (on the Nov. 3 ballot). As a single customer on Columbia Gas’s system, you don’t have any bargaining power and you have to accept the price they give you, or look for another supplier. Having a natural gas aggregation program would allow the village to bargain as a unit to achieve better prices for everyone.”
According to Babcock, if the Village implements a natural gas program, per Issue 2, customers would see significant savings as group buyers versus individual buyers. Most natural gas contracts are variable. Companies agree to buy gas at the market price, plus some cost per unit. Group purchasing essentially provides customers a “bulk” discount. Oak Harbor expects that discount to be as much as 8% monthly.
“It is worth noting that these numbers may change, but we will always be able to secure a savings,” said Babcock. “There are really no downsides to the program. If we can’t save, we would simply not enter into a contract.”
Babcock stated that, though most people do not choose to do so, some Ohio residents prefer to choose their own natural gas supplier. The Oak Harbor natural gas aggregation program will allow those residents the freedom to opt out at any time, making the program “a win-win for everyone.”
The program will not require residents to deal with a new company. While switching to a gas supplier negotiated by the village, residents would still use Columbia Gas’ infrastructure. Billing, service, and meter reading would all continue to operate through Columbia Gas.
The only noticeable difference for the resident will be a one-line change on monthly utility bills, noting the gas supplier and lower price.
Issue 2 will appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 3, at the end of the ballot, along with other issue questions regarding tax levies.
For more information about Village of Oak Harbor’s proposed natural gas aggregation program, visit www.educatedvote.com or contact QBabcock@OakHarbor.oh.us, 419-635-7560. Residents with voting questions may visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website or call the Ottawa County Board of Elections at 419-898-3071.