soundly approve natural gas aggregation
With just a small number of residents going to the polls in Tuesdays
special election, Yellow Springs voters overwhelmingly approved Issue
4, giving the Village the authority to negotiate natural gas rates on
behalf of villagers.
Unofficial results from the Greene County Board of Elections showed that
90 percent of those who went to the polls voted in favor of the ballot
issue, while just 10 percent voted against it.
With 409 voters casting ballots, 370 Yellow Springs residents voted yes;
only 39 residents voted no.
Voter turnout was by far the lowest in recent years. Just 12.8 percent
of the 3,185 registered voters in Yellow Springs participated in the election.
At the polls, local voters were asked to allow the Village to establish
a municipal opt-out aggregation program. The approval of Issue 4 allows
the Village to get involved in the natural gas market.
Residential and small-business customers will now automatically be included
in the buying group. Local residents would be able to opt out of the group
and choose their own natural gas supplier.
By forming a buying group, officials have said, the Village is more likely
to secure a better rate than individual residents.
The Village will work with AMPO, Inc., an affiliate of American Municipal
Power of Ohio, the Villages wholesale electricity supplier, to develop
an aggregation program, negotiate gas rates and educate the community
on natural gas issues. The program will not provide additional revenue
for the Village.
Despite the passage of Issue 4, the Village will not set up its own natural
gas utility. Instead, Vectren, the local natural gas supplier, will continue
to deliver gas to town, as well as respond to emergencies, read meters
and bill residents.
Officials have said that the Village could secure a natural gas contract
by the early fall, in time for the fall and winter heating season.