Hello everyone, I’m KJ Hastings. I grew up here in Delaware, attending Smith Elementary, Willis
Intermediate, and Hayes High schools before joining the Air Force and globe trotting for 26 years. After my mother’s unexpected passing in October of last year, I decided to chuck that all in and semi retire, move back to my childhood home from South Carolina to renovate it, and enjoy life in my hometown.
It’s great to be back, but a lot of changes have happened. One of the most immediately puzzling was electricity service. A few days after mom died, I found myself on the telephone with her electricity provider trying to get the service transferred into my name and any outstanding bills paid. After I explained what I was trying to do, the customer service agent got me set up, then asked me a question that totally stumped me – what rate plan did I want for my electricity service?
Having any kind of choice was completely new to me, and after my “Huh?” response the agent let me know there were multiple plans I could select. I’m sure the agent had dealt with many folks moving in from out of state who had no idea about rate choice because she explained I could pick from multiple suppliers and my rates would differ depending on my choice.
Since I was already pretty overwhelmed with dealing with mom’s passing, I fell back to the safety in the group question of “What are most people doing?” and wound up with a plan. After I decided to move back, I did revisit the subject, and after researching a dizzying array of plans was happy with my original choice. Score one for the safety of the group! “That’s done” I thought to myself, with a sigh of relief, and proceeded to deal with all the stress and details that moving entails.
Days after I moved back, however, I found out the city had passed a ballot measure to aggregate electricity the previous November. I was going to have to choose by May 8 if I was going to participate in the aggregation or not, and if I was, if I wanted a green or traditional power option. I obviously wasn’t voting in that election so wasn’t aware of the issue, and had many questions, the first being “what is aggregation”?
After doing more research, I discovered aggregation is a collective bargaining tool that allows customers to band together and negotiate more competitive rates by purchasing in volume. Okay, that doesn’t sound bad. Saving money is good, right? My next question was, “what are the pros and cons of aggregation”? That was a lot harder to answer as the details of the aggregation plan determine the pros and cons – for example, some aggregation plans have set periods without the ability to drop out, and others aggregate by dividing total cost of number of customers.
After scouring the city’s website on the issue at https://www.delawareohio.net/government/city-hall/aggregation, I determined that it didn’t sound like a terrible idea to me. Eligible customers in the city can choose to enroll or drop out at any time, rates are for what you use vs a group calculation, the rates listed of traditional and green energy seemed very competitive with other plans, and are locked in until June 2025. Energy prices are scheduled to go up in June, so overall it looks like a decent idea,
especially if you are interested in renewable energy as the rates for that are only $.0037 cents more per kilowatt hour.
The next question was, if I opted for renewable energy, how much would my bill go up? This was a lot harder to answer in my case as I’d just moved here and didn’t have a year of use to determine an average monthly usage. Anyone who has a year’s worth of electricity bills can easily determine average rate and do the math. However, I guesstimated it would likely cost me around $2.25 more a month on average to use renewable energy, which doesn’t sound too terrible.
I haven’t fully decided what I’m going to do yet, but I’ll likely use the default option of opting for renewable energy. I’m not sure what I feel about electricity choice. Personally, I like to “set it and forget it” on most things in my life, as it simplifies things and saves time for me to do things I enjoy, but I can definitely see how others prefer to shop for their suppliers and the benefits that provides. It will be interesting to see what most eligible residents choose and the effects of our choices.