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Belpre City Council plugs into electric aggregation effort

BELPRE — Belpre City Council has agreed to join with counties and communities in Southeast Ohio in a joint electric aggregation program.

Council held a special meeting by Zoom and phone Wednesday afternoon to consider and vote on two ordinances to join the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council.

Council approved one ordinance authorizing the city to enter into SOPEC and the other approving the plan of operation and governance for the electric aggregation program. Council also approved measures to hold the second and third readings of each at the same meeting.

The two ordinances included an emergency clause meaning they would go into effect as soon as approved by council.

SOPEC represents 17 counties and communities in Southeast Ohio as a single aggregation group with a board featuring members from each participating community. The goal of the aggregation program is to negotiate a fixed price for electricity for program members over a period of one or two years. Residents in participating communities can choose to opt out of the aggregation agreement and will pay the market value for electricity, which can vary from lower to higher than the aggregate cost.

With Wednesday’s passage of the ordinances, Belpre’s cost will be 4.892 cents per kilowatt hour, down from the previous year’s rate of 5.553 cents per kilowatt hour. That is an interim, or gap, rate for Belpre through the end of May 2021, since Belpre and several other communities are joining the program mid-year.

A new rate for all members will go into effect June 1, 2021, and run for the following year.

Wayne Towner can be reached at wtowner@newsandsentinel.com

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