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LIBERTY Utility matter to appear on ballot



Published: Fri, June 10, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Residents could save 5 percent to 6 percent on some utilities.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LIBERTY -- Saving people money is something township officials don't always get to do, but trustees think they found a way to help residents keep more cash in their pockets.

During Monday's meeting, trustees are expected to pass the second reading on a motion to place an issue on the November ballot that would allow township residents to take advantage of a gas and electric aggregation program.

If voters approve the issue, residents would be given the option to join or stay with their current providers. Aggregation would allow residents to band together to buy utilities, thereby getting them at a lower rate.

"Usually government is always costing people money," said Trustee Jack Simon. "It's too seldom that we get to save them money. We may save some money at the township but they don't see this in their wallet. This will give them direct savings."

Residents will save about 5 percent on natural gas and 6 percent on electricity, Simon said.

Buying power

Also, if the issue is passed, trustees would then decide what company they would work with to find the township the lowest prices.

One option would be to sign up with The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, Simon said. NOPEC is made up of 112 communities spread across eight Northeast Ohio counties.

According to the NOPEC Web site, by banding together into one large buying group, the communities gain leverage in the deregulated marketplace. NOPEC customers enjoy the advantages of bulk buying power, professional expertise and consumer advocacy on their behalf, the Web site states.

Simon and Pat Ungaro, township administrator, said that before the November election two public hearings will be held to inform residents about the aggregation issue.

If voters approve it, every resident will be included.

"They will get a postcard in the mail and it will tell them that the township is now aggregated," Simon said. "They will have the option to opt out. If they choose not to take part then they can send the postcard back. No one has to do it."

sinkovich@vindy.com




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