The Post - Athens

From November 2012 to November 2013, I worked as a beat report for Ohio University's student newspaper The Post. I mainly focused on Athens City Council and covered stories on local energy, transit, housing, and construction projects. 

Athens may have to compromise energy bill prices if they pursue renewable resources

By Cassie Kelly | November 21, 2013

Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl and Athens County Commissioner Chris Chmiel want to pursue renewable resources, but it could cause the city more hassle than it’s worth.

Unlike Athens County, Hocking County did not pass a countywide bill for electric aggregation, but Falls and Marion townships have pursued it.

Pursuing renewable resources has been a concern for Athens residents since the electric aggregation bill was passed on Nov. 5, Wiehl said.

“We’d like to see it as green as possible,” Wiehl said at the public information session on Oct. 15.

Bill Bradish, account manager for Palmer Energy, a Toledo-based consulting company, said that for aggregation, the larger the amount of people that participate, the cheaper the rates are.

“We consult with over half a million meters of land, houses and small businesses,” Bradish said. “The concept of this is big group, better price.”

Bradish said that Palmer Energy will help Athens find its best deal with renewable resources, adding that some communities have been able to save money while still being green.

Larry Falkin, director for the Office of Environmental Quality in Cincinnati, said that purchasing energy locally from Ohio or from a specific source like wind or solar would cost more.

“One-hundred percent green will only cost two percent more than the best offer,” Falkin said.

Hocking County is one of 35 counties in Ohio that has partnered with Palmer Energy to drop monthly rates from about eight cents per kilowatt-hour to five cents per kilowatt-hour statewide for residents deciding to stay in the program, Bradish said.

Whether Athens residents pick price over the environment or not, they can expect to see their rates drop as early as six months from now, Bradish said.

“I would encourage any community to consider electric aggregation because there are benefits and reduced pricing out there that they can achieve,” Bradish said.

Read the original story in The Post ,here