shutterstock_185467274.jpg

Programs and Services

Energy utilities will remain one of the largest expenses for U.S. industry after land and facilities. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects total U.S. industrial sector energy usage to increase by one quadrillion BTUs of electricity consumption and two quadrillion BTUs of natural gas consumption over the next several decades (see graph). As the economy grows over this period, municipalities and townships with low-cost energy and available land and facilities will be more likely to attract new businesses and investment in their communities.

SOPEC has developed a range of energy programming, services, and projects to assist local governments in Southeast Ohio and help their communities capture future economic growth through low-cost energy utility services.

 

Solar Feasibility Assistance Program

The Solar Feasibility Assistance Program is jointly funded by SOPEC and the USDA Renewable Energy Development Assistance grant to provide cost-free renewable energy site assessments for small businesses and agricultural producers. Site assessments that show strong economic feasibility and a quick payback point can be submitted for a USDA REAP grant to reimburse 25% of project costs. SOPEC is the only USDA REDA program provider in Ohio.

Participant Qualifications:

  • A small business or agricultural producer
  • A utility service address located in one of the following Southeast Ohio counties:
    • Athens County
    • Gallia County
    • Hocking County
    • Meigs County
    • Morgan County
    • Perry County
    • Vinton County
    • Washington County
  • An electric utility meter that is either:
    • solely dedicated for business or agricultural operations; or,
    • shared for other purposes, with at least 50% of metered energy used for business or agricultural operations;
  • 12-month utility billing history (SOPEC can provide assistance with billing history)

Eligible program participants can submit an application at the link below.


PACE Loan Program

The PACE Loan Program provides property-assessed financing for large commercial energy efficiency projects. Commercial borrowers can receive financing from $100,000 to $500,000 through the SOPEC PACE program. Borrowers receive a PACE loan from SOPEC through an ESID district, and repay the PACE loan to SOPEC through property tax assessments.

Participant Qualifications:

  • Program borrowers must meet the following requirements:
    • Borrower must be a commercial, industrial, non-profit, or public-sector entity
    • Borrower must hold a SOPEC mercantile customer account at project service address
    • Borrower must be the owner of the building where the proposed project will be constructed
    • Borrower must request $100,000 to $500,000 through PACE Loan Program
  • 12-month utility billing history (SOPEC can provide assistance with billing history)
  • Proposed energy project must feature a utility savings payback point within 10 years of completion (SOPEC can provide technical assistance with project payback calculations)

Eligible program participants can submit an application at the link below.


STEP Loan Program

The STEP Loan Program provides a subsidized low-interest fixed-rate loan to small business customers for energy improvements to their business. Business owners can borrow $5,000 to $100,000 at a fixed 3% APR for a ten year loan term. Qualifying purchases include EnergyStar appliances and upgrades to insulation, lighting, HVAC, windows, and other energy reduction improvements.

Participant Qualifications:

  • Program borrowers must meet the following requirements:
    • Borrower must be a commercial, industrial, non-profit, or public-sector entity
    • Borrower must hold a SOPEC mercantile customer account at project service address
    • Borrower must be the owner of the building where the proposed project will be constructed
    • Borrower must request $5,000 to $100,000 through STEP Loan Program
  • 12-month utility billing history (SOPEC can provide assistance with billing history)
  • Proposed energy project must feature a utility savings payback point within 10 years of completion (SOPEC can provide technical assistance with project payback calculations)

Eligible program participants can submit an application at the link below.


Natural Gas Aggregation

The governmental opt-out natural gas aggregation program replaces the variable utility default supply rate with a group rate from the retail energy market. The fixed-rate program changes rates every 90 days and does not guarantee savings on gas supply charges for residential and small business gas customers. However, customers can select a guaranteed savings option and receive a variable monthly rate that is always guaranteed to be below the default utility supply rate. Additionally, customers can use the program as a free option and can enter and exit the hedged program rates at any time with no fees or hassle.

Participant Qualifications:

  • Program participants must meet the following requirements:
    • Participant must not be enrolled with a retail natural gas supplier
    • Participant must not be enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plus (PIPP) program
    • Participant must not be registered on the PUCO Do-Not-Aggregate list
    • Participant must not consume more than 500,000 Mcf of natural gas per year
  • Provide a natural gas utility service address within a SOPEC-member community
  • Provide a natural gas utility account number that qualifies based on the conditions above

To minimize program administration, the natural gas aggregation program in SOPEC-member communities is administered by the staff of the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC). Program participants in SOPEC-member communities can contact the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) at the link below to enroll in natural gas aggregation in their community.

Program participants enrolled in the 90-day fixed-rate option can view current program rates by visiting the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) program rate webpage at the link below. Program participants can switch to the variable-rate guaranteed-savings option by contacting NOPEC at 1-855-667-3201 with their utility billing information. Participants can also easily opt-out or return to the program at anytime by calling NOPEC at 1-855-667-3201 with their utility billing information.

To explore natural gas aggregation group rates for new communities, community members can request a group rate using the Request Group Rate link below.


Public Pricing Program

The Public Pricing program provides a bundled retail market rate for public-sector mercantile class customers, including municipalities, townships, and county governments. Mercantile class customers must feature more than 700,000 kWh of usage per year, or hold more than one meter under a single account holder. The program provides 20-25% savings compared with the default utility supply rate.

Participant Qualifications:

  • Program participants must meet the following requirements:
    • Participants must consume more than 700,000 kWh of electricity per year or hold more than one electric utility account
    • Participant must not be enrolled with a retail electric supplier
    • Participants must be a qualifying pubilc sector entity:
      • City Government
      • Village Government
      • Township Government
      • County Government
      • Public Library
      • Fire District
      • Water-Sewer District
      • Park District
      • Port Authority
      • Other Qualifying Political Subdivision of the State of Ohio
  • Provide a electric utility service address within a SOPEC-member community
  • Provide an electric utility account number that qualifies based on the conditions above


Opt-Out Electric Aggregation

The governmental opt-out electric aggregation program replaces the variable utility default supply rate with a fixed rate from the retail energy market. Residential and small business customers can use the program rate as a free option and can enter and exit the hedged program rate at any time with no fees or hassle.

Participant Qualifications:

  • Program participants must meet the following requirements:
    • Participant must not be enrolled with a retail electric supplier
    • Participant must not be enrolled in the Percentage of Income Payment Plus (PIPP) program
    • Participant must not be registered on the PUCO Do-Not-Aggregate list
    • Participant must not consume more than 700,000 kWh of electricity per year
  • Provide an electric utility service address within a SOPEC-member community
  • Provide an electric utility account number that qualifies based on the conditions above

Customers can easily opt-out or return to the program at anytime by calling 1-877-726-0214 with their utility billing information.

To explore group rates for new communities, community members can request a group rate using the link below.



Program Access

Each member community that joins the SOPEC Council of Governments receives open access to all SOPEC programming and services for energy customers in their community. Becoming a member community of SOPEC is easy and there is no fee or cost for communities to join.

For more information, please visit the Membership Information link below, or contact the staff at the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council at support@sopec-oh.gov or at 1-740-597-7955.