Springfield officials have switched energy providers for the city’s more than 7,000 street lights, a move that is expected to save about $375,000 on its electric bills in the next year.
Officials made the decision about two weeks after learning more regarding Ohio Edison’s rate increase that started June 1 for its energy supply. Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck said the city already paid about $750,000 annually to Ohio Edison for street lights, but Edison’s rate increase would have cost the city hundreds of thousands more.
“We were contacted by Ohio Edison just last week in regards to their rates that are going up significantly as of June 1,” Heck told city commissioners in their May 23 meeting. “They advised us that we should shop these costs.”
He credited Katie Eviston, Springfield’s finance director, and staff members for finding a cheaper option in a short period of time.
“Thank you to our finance staff, our purchasing team, for diligently and quickly going out there and finding and shopping these rates so that we can save taxpayers dollars,” Heck said.
City commissioners approved on an emergency basis Heck entering into a contract with Energy Harbor LLC to provide energy for the street lights for a term of 28 months for amount not to exceed $800,000.
Ohio Edison’s new tariff rate rose to 11.7 cents/kWh as of June 1. If it remained that rate for the entirety of the 28-month agreement the city entered into with Energy Harbor at 5.34 cents/kWh, the savings would be $374,020 annually (June 2023 - May 2024) and $872,713 over the 28 months, Eviston said.
“This would have been an additional cost to the city beyond what is budgeted for street lights annually,” she said.
The city had $807,000 budgeted for street lighting this year.
Ohio Edison will maintain the lights, per an existing contract, but the energy supplied will come from Energy Harbor.
The city’s search for a supplier comes after residential customers who faced similar Ohio Edison rate increases June 1 were offered the chance to rejoin the NOPEC electric aggregation program, which offered savings through group purchasing power. NOPEC is the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council service, which has more than 200 communities in Ohio participating in the bulk utility purchasing program.
Clark County has a different aggregation program, which represents residents in Green, Harmony, Moorefield, Pleasant and Springfield townships. Other Clark County townships offer their own program individually for residents.