September 20, 2008

Group Plan Could Lower Gas Bills

By Kristin McAllister Staff Writer

WEST CARROLLTON -- West Carrollton is considering joining a pool of local governments to harness greater bargaining power when buying natural gas.

City Manager Brad Townsend, during a Sept. 9 work session, briefed council members about the benefits of participating with other local governments, all members of the Miami Valley Communications Council, in a natural gas aggregation.

In addition to West Carrollton, MVCC members include Centerville, Germantown, Kettering, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood, Springboro and 13 other Miami Valley communities.

"By banding together as a larger buying group, that translates into price," Townsend said. "This could save us $20,000 next year based on current consumption."

Tom Ireland, MVCC interim executive director and chief technology officer, said he expects to have contracts sent by week's end to each MVCC member for consideration.

If the local governments agree to a natural gas aggregation, they would be guaranteed a price until 2010, Townsend said.

He said the cost of natural gas to the city would drop from $1.20 per thousand cubic feet to about 97 cents for the same amount.

The MVCC is working with American Municipal Power-Ohio in the natural gas aggregation.

The AMC-Ohio is a nonprofit corporation that purchases wholesale electric power and energy and sells it to members at rates based on the purchase price and dispatch fees, plus a small service fee.

Once a contract is in place, Townsend said the city will look into offering a similar natural gas aggregation to its residents.

To do so, Townsend said the city would have to place the issue on the spring ballot for voter approval.

"The bottom line is, it's going to save money one way or the other," he said. "They'll be a big advantage for everyone."

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-9338 or [email protected]

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