Although Brookfield’s electric aggregation contract doesn’t end until the end of March, trustees found themselves under a December deadline to either extend the contract with AEP Energy or lock in rates with a new supplier.

On Dec. 19, the trustees agreed to a 15-month contract with AEP that locks in the energy consumption rate at 5.975 cents per kilowatt hour. That is an increase from the current rate of 5.316 cents per kilowatt hour, but is below Ohio Edison’s price-to-compare rate of 10.11 cents per kilowatt hour.

Trustee Dan Suttles said the trustees have been working with broker Jay Sell of Aspen Energy for months to replace the current electrical aggregation contract. Over the summer, the best rate was in the neighborhood of 8 cents per kilowatt hour, he said.

“It is the best rate we’ve seen,” Sell said of the AEP rate the trustees chose. “It’s a very competitive rate.”

Sell is paid by energy companies when contracts are signed.

The trustees had until Dec. 20 to choose a supplier in order for there to be a seamless transition from the old contract to the new one, said Sell, who was reached by phone to answer questions at the meeting. There are Public Utilities Commission of Ohio deadlines and administrative processes with the utility supplier that required the three-month lead time, he said.

AEP Energy is the retail arm of AEP Ohio, Sell said.

As part of the deal, the trustees will receive a $15,000 community grant to spend as they see fit.

Electric customers who already are participating in the electric aggregation program don’t have to do anything to be folded into the new contract. However, customers who can get a better rate from another supplier can opt out at no cost. There also is no cost to Brookfield residents who are with another supplier and want to opt in to Brookfield’s program. In fact, customers can opt in or out as they see fit over the lifetime of the contract without cost, Sell said.

“They just have to understand it takes a billing cycle or two for someone to opt in or opt out,” he said.

AEP will send notices to customers informing them they can opt out if they want to shop around, Suttles said.

The rates are available to electric customers who use less than 700,000 kilowatt hours a year, he said.

The township’s electric aggregation program received renewed interest over the summer when default electric supplier Ohio Edison’s rates went up significantly. Suttles said he helped about 50 people, mostly seniors, to opt in and lock in the lower AEP rates. He said it’s likely many electric customers opted in on their own.

Electric customers can shop around at