MARIETTA - The Washington County Farm Bureau will hold its Electric Service Issues Briefing 7 p.m. April 9 at the Washington State Community College Auditorium, 710 Colegate Drive.
Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation director for energy services, will coordinate the meeting.
"Next to labor, energy is the largest single expense for many farms and small businesses. Residential consumers are looking for ways to tackle their electric bills, too." Arnold said. "From power marketing to customer friendly interconnection and on-site generation, farmers are being offered a variety of programs and strategies that could help them control some aspects of their electric costs."
Arnold will discuss current energy trends, customer choice programs for purchasing generation that were approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, new demand-side management programs being developed by utilities and on-site generation options using traditional and renewable fuels.
Depending on how a farm, small business or residence uses electric energy, there could be several options available to control energy bills.
"While one program or technology offers one customer some options does not mean that every customer will have the same opportunities," he said. "Customers need to evaluate several programs and service providers to find those programs that work best for them."
* The farm bureau is the state's largest general farm organization, encompassing 87 county Farm Bureau organizations and more than 225,000 member families statewide.
* Locally, more than 1,665 member families belong to the Washington County Farm Bureau.
During the course of the program Arnold will cover what questions consumers should ask before investing in a program or new technology. Additional resources provided by the Ohio Consumers Counsel, PUCO and local utilities will be explored.
"Many folks in the area have a number of questions and concerns," Ralph Coffman, Washington County Farm Bureau president, said. Our County Farm Bureau Public Policy Action Team is sponsoring this briefing to help local citizens learn more about new trends in this industry."
Arnold has been director for energy development since 1995. He represents farm and rural residential energy consumers on a variety of government working groups and public utility advisory boards concerning energy development.
He has extensive experience working with county farm bureaus and local residents, helping communities evaluate projects concerning community aggregation, electric generation, renewable energy development, as well as electric transmission and distribution infrastructure.