Sunbury’s energy aggregation letters going out
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
For nearly two years the Village of Sunbury has been exploring acquiring electricity for village facilities through an aggregation agreement as a cost savings measure; and has also moved towards electric and natural gas aggregation options for village residents by placing electric and gas aggregation issues on the November 8, 2011, ballot. When the issues reached voters they approved allowing the village to negotiate residential electric and natural gas aggregation by significant margins.
In June members of Village Council and village administrators interviewed potential suppliers for the village’s electric and national gas aggregation program. In July, with the assistance of energy broker Scott Belcastro, Trebel, Inc., they began creating the necessary plans of operation and governance.
In early November council members scheduled two required public hearings on November 20 and November 28; in December council members voted to move forward with residential and small business electricity and natural gas aggregation.
Belcastro, who described himself as an independent broker, said the plans of operation and governance he negotiated for the village would have electricity supplied by Powell-based Border Energy, and natural gas supplied by Pickerington-based Volunteer Energy.
For both electricity and natural gas, Belcastro will act as the village energy broker, with no fees assessed to the village; the energy suppliers pay Belcastro.
Belcastro attended last Wednesday’s Sunbury Village Council meeting with an update.
“Things are moving forward with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio,” Belcastro said. “As of this Friday letters will be sent to all Sunbury residents and businesses that are eligible for electricity aggregation — they should start getting the letters Monday or Tuesday — and have 21 days to send them to Border Energy if they want to opt out.”
Belcastro said if village residents and small business owners want to accept the terms of Sunbury’s blanket electricity aggregation agreement they have to do nothing.
“Twenty-one days goes by in a flash, and then Border Energy puts its list together,” Belcastro said. “On April 1 everything will be up and running. On your electric bill you’ll see an AEP customer charge, and then you’ll see a 15 percent discount on generation and transmission from Border Energy – 10 percent for businesses.”
Border Energy’s residential early termination fee will be $50, Belcastro said; electric bills would still come from AEP with Border Energy charges noted.
Volunteer Energy currently offers a savings of 7 percent off of the residential customer’s natural gas bill adder, with no early termination fee. Because natural gas rates will not be negotiated until later this month, Belcastro said, it’s not known whether or not the village would enter a natural gas aggregation agreement.
In other business, Roger Howard, owner of the new Donato’s Pizza in Fairland Plaza, asked council members to approve the transfer of a beer-only liquor license from his Polaris Donato’s location to the new Sunbury Donato’s.
“This is my 46th year with Donato’s, and I’m really excited about being part of the village,” Howard said. “Part of our mission is to be part of the community, to be good neighbors.”
Howard said the new Sunbury Donato’s, located in the space formerly occupied by North Star Studios, should be open by the end of March. The restaurant will feature a 38-seat dining facility, and have delivery and carry out service.
Council members also approved increasing wastewater treatment plant employee Dale Wampler’s pay to $15 per hour.
“The wastewater treatment plant is currently short one worker, and Dale has passed his Wastewater Treatment Class I test,” said Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield. “(Wastewater Treatment Pant Supervisor) Rich (Felton) said Dale has been performing lab tests, and wants the plant to have a wage scale tied to jobs.”
Hatfield said that creating a job-related pay scale at the wastewater plant could not be done during a council session – that task would have to be tackled by members of village council’s 139 committee. He did agree that it would be appropriate to increase Wampler’s pay based on the duties he is performing.
“I’m not thrilled about increasing his pay retroactively,” Hatfield said. “But I don’t see this as a raise per se, but as an employee who has taken a test and stepped up and started a process for Class II. This is a guy who is spent an inordinate amount of time doing this.”
Council members approved the request.
Sunbury’s website is located at < sunburyvillage.com >.
Sunbury Village Council meets the first and third Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m., third floor council chambers, Sunbury Town Hall. Council committees meet one hour before regularly scheduled council sessions. All village council and council committee meetings are open to the public.