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Aggregation FAQ

Aggregation Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is aggregation?
  • Aggregation is a process by which communities combine their residents into a large buying group. These buying groups result in increased “buying power” and stable prices for members. Aggregation is a simple process that is very popular in Ohio and other states.

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  • What is the cost to my community to start an aggregation program?
  • Integrys Energy Services does not charge your community any fees for implementing an aggregation program.

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  • Will my residents notice a difference in service?
  • No, the only difference is the energy your residents receive from Integrys Energy is in more stable prices. Your local utility continues to deliver energy to your residents’ homes and businesses. Electricity and natural gas flow the same as the do now.

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  • Where does the natural gas or electricity come from?
  • Using forecasting and hedging methods, Integrys Energy Services procures much of the energy supplied on the open market to find the best price for your aggregation group.

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  • Why is Opt-out aggregation better than Opt-in aggregation?
  • Opt-out is the easiest way for citizens to shop since your residents need to do nothing to participate in the program. Opt-out aggregation programs usually provide better prices than Opt-in program due to a larger aggregation group and corresponding higher energy demand.

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  • What is an Opt-out period? What does it mean?
  • When a community has decided to take part in an Opt-out aggregation program, they must provide all residents the option of choosing to NOT participate in the program, or “Opt-out” of the program. Before the aggregation program begins, all residents will receive an Opt-out notice in the mail. Residents are given a date by which they must return the Opt-out notice or call a toll-free number to request to be opted-out of the program.

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  • How Does Natural Gas Aggregation Benefit a Resident?
  • Natural Gas Aggregation combines the retail natural gas loads of customers in a city. By combining the loads of its residents, the City can be more effective in doing research and negotiating rates, than an individual customer might be. This combined buying power typically provides lower, more stable rates and improved service from suppliers.

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  • Why Is This Important To A City or Township?
  • State legislators have made the decision to put the power in the hands of municipal leaders to help residents with their energy costs by forming aggregation groups. This was accomplished through House Bill 9 (for natural gas) and Senate Bill 3 (for electricity). A City or Township can now provide another choice to their residents to buy their natural gas in bulk. Additionally, most residents don't think about energy costs until it's too late (they normally aren’t concerned about their gas bill until they are already receiving their high winter heating bills). A municipality can purchase gas at ideal times (spring through summer) to provide a better rate in the fall and winter.

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  • How Does an Opt-Out Aggregation Program Work?
  • In order for a City to create an Aggregation Program, a majority of the residents have to pass a ballot issue authorizing the City to negotiate the rates on their behalf. After the ballot issue, the City negotiates rates and chooses a supplier.

    All eligible residents are automatically included in the Program unless they choose to Opt-Out. Prior to enrollment, all eligible residents are mailed notices detailing the Program and are offered 21 days to remain in the Program or to not participate by Opting-Out.

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  • Who is Eligible?
  • Natural Gas customers residing within the City receiving natural gas from the local utility (i.e. Columbia Gas, Dominion, Duke Energy) are eligible. Residents that are served by another supplier, PIPP customers, customers in arrearage or are both a distribution service and mercantile customer are not eligible.

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  • How Do I Join?
  • In order to make it easier for residents to join and to create greater bargaining power, the City chose an Opt-Out Aggregation Program. This means all eligible residents are automatically included in the Program unless they choose not to participate by opting-out”. All customers are mailed an Opt-Out Notice, which includes a letter explaining the Program, terms and conditions, and offers a 21-day Opt-Out Period.

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  • What If I Do Not Want to Participate?
  • Every resident will receive an opt-out notice and 21 days to opt-out of the program. The notice will provide the rates for the program. If you do noting, you will automatically receive the new rate. A resident may choose to opt-out, or not participate, by either returning an enclosed opt-out card or by calling a toll-free telephone number.

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  • What if I Already Have a Supplier?
  • By law, only residents that are not under contract with a supplier and are current on their local utility energy bills may be sent an opt-out card. Residents who have already made a choice will not be sent an opt-out notice. They may, however, contact the supplier separately to sign into the Program if they like the rate. Those residents should review their current supplier’s contract beforehand though to avoid any early termination penalties.

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  • Who Do I Call To Report Problems With My Natural Gas Service?
  • To report service problems, a gas leak, billing problems, meter reading, estimated readings, and budget payment plan amounts, you will still call your local utility. If you have questions regarding the Aggregation Program or the supplier rate, you should call the supplier.

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  • Will I Keep My Budget Billing?
  • Budget Billing remains. Your gas rate may be lower so you may request your budget amount to be recalculated to reflect a lower cost.

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  • Who Do I Pay?
  • You will receive a single consolidated bill from your local utility. You will continue to only pay your local utility, which will then remit payments to the supplier.

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