Columbus Proposes Ballot Issue Allowing City More Control Over Energy Sources

Aug 26, 2020

The city of Columbus on Wednesday introduced an energy ballot issue that it hopes voters will pass during the November election.

Issue 1 advocates for "community choice aggregation," which would allow the city government to procure power from an alternative supplier on behalf of small businesses and residents who haven’t chosen one.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "the CCA purchases electricity on behalf of the entire community from traditional or green power sources."

City officials say this will allow them more control over electricity sources, including the ability to use more green power than may be offered by the default utility.

“If successful on the ballot this November, Columbus will be the third-largest municipal aggregation in the country, the largest in Ohio and the Midwest,” says Columbus City Council member Emmanuel Remy.

Columbus-based AEP Energy was chosen as the preferred supplier. Most residents in the city already use AEP as their electric utility.

“This visionary program could require over 700 megawatts of new solar and wind generation in the state of Ohio,” says AEP president Scott Slisher. “That represents over $1 billion of new investment in the state as well as new opportunities and hundreds of construction jobs.”

Slisher argues making this move would have lasting economic impact.

“On a long-term basis, this clean energy generation will provide permanent employment for dozens, further employment needs for supplemental services and supporting industries, and millions annually in property tax dollars and land owner lease payments,” Slisher says.

Two City Council members involved in the project will hold a virtual public hearing about it next Wednesday.