Electricity rate hike creates Belpre dilemma

BELPRE – Some residents have opted out of the electric aggregation program in the city and are looking for lower rates.

Mayor Mike Lorentz said many people have contacted the city over the last month to ask about their options.

“We have a lot more who are opting out than who are staying with it,” he said. “I am opting out.”

Last month, council approved to continue with the program, despite the significant increase in cost.

The new rate is 9.3 per kilowatt hour for residential and 7.32 for commercial customers, offered by DPL Energy Resources through Belpre. This is a significant increase from the 5.99 for residential and 5.3 for commercial originally offered through the aggregation program.

Customers have the option to get out or remain in the program at these new rates.

Some city council members had previously said they had never joined the program while others said they had and planned to stay with it. Some said they will opt out during this change.

Lorentz did not have exact numbers of people opting out, but said around 100 people were helped to opt out through city offices.

“It has been non-stop since we had our (May 19) council meeting,” Lorentz said.

Many people have been asking if they can opt out, how they go about doing it, what paperwork needs to be filled out and so on, the mayor said.

Belpre residents have until June 23 to opt out of the city’s electric aggregation program.

This requires individuals to contact Volunteer Energy Services to say they do not want to be part of the program.

“We are encouraging people to research it to see where they can go to get something lesser than the 9.3,” Lorentz said.