Brookfield Trustees Ron Haun and Gary Lees have agreed to extend AEP Ohio’s contract for electric aggregation in the township for another three years.
Trustee Dan Suttles voted no, saying he wanted to shop around and see if AEP’s proposal was the best deal. “I never buy the first car I look at,” he said.
The deal means that residents who stay with AEP or opt in will see lower electric rates than what AEP is now charging, and the township will get a $25,000 grant to spend as the trustees please.
The trustees met via Zoom on July 16 with Jay Sell of Aspen Energy Consultants, which acts as a middle man putting together aggregation programs. Sell noted Aspen is paid by the energy companies when deals are made, and the township owes him nothing. Aspen was the consultant when the trustees signed with AEP almost three years ago, and the relationship factored into the decisions by Lees and Haun.
promoUnder the three-year deal, which begins in March, when the current pact ends, AEP will charge 5.316 cents per kilowatt hour of electrical use, down from 5.395 under the existing contract.
That may not seem like a lot, but from a township-wide perspective, the about 4,000 customers would save a total of about $90,000, Sell said.
Sell said he sought proposals from two other companies, and AEP offered the best deal. The company does a great job on price, service and administration of aggregation programs, he said. “We strongly believe AEP is a great supplier,” Sell said.
Suttles asked if Energy Harbor, the new name for what had been First Energy Solutions, the supply arm of First Energy, had been contacted, and Sell said it had not. Sell offered to check with Energy Harbor, and ask for prices based on a different size of the grant; he noted that some companies offer a grant based on volume, which AEP is not proposing, and that the size of grant impacts the rate charged to customers.
While the trustees did not need to make a decision until January at the latest and it is possible AEP’s rate could go down further based on market forces, it’s also possible the rate could go up and other aspects of the offer could change. The AEP proposal is “the strongest offer we’re gonna find,” Sell said. “We do have a strong rate we can do today.”
Haun and Lees said there was no need for further research. Haun said he looked at consistency as a benefit to township residents, and noted that residents who want to have another electric supplier may opt out of the AEP program at no cost. Residents are not supposed to have to do anything to receive the new rate.
The contract has been a “win-win,” Lees said. If there was a better deal out there, Sell would have found it, Lees said. “I’m content with what we’ve had in the past,” Lees said. “I’m ready to go.”
Under the current contract, AEP supplied a $100,000 grant. The trustees used that money and $35,000 in matching grants from the Strimbu, Kirila and O’Brien foundations to erect a decorative fence at the cemetery; extend electric service and put in an electronic gate at Brookfield Township Community Park; install an electronic sign in Brookfield Center to notify residents of meetings and events; and buy a columbarium for cremated remains at the cemetery, which has been ordered.
The trustees have not discussed how to spend the $25,000 grant it will receive under the new contract.