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Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Residents could switch to alternative energy use

By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER - Local residents will have an opportunity to Go Green and use alternative energy through the Eco-Smart Choice program offered by American Municipal Power (AMP)-Ohio.
Village Administrator Don Harrod told village councilors Tuesday night he has received some inquiries in recent months, including one from a local company regarding such an option.
"We have another company (Minster Machine) entering the wind energy market so this would be a way of supporting the effort," Harrod said.
Minster residents interested in using renewable energy - wind, hydroelectric and landfill gas - could offset 100 percent of their electric usage with renewable energy for an additional 1.3 cents per kilowatt hour. Those who pay the additional money will get electricity created through a renewable source, instead of from coal-fired plants.
A customer using 750 kilowatt hours each month would pay an additional $9.75, according to Harrod. Commercial and industrial customers can participate by purchasing 1 megawatt blocks of the Eco-Smart Choice product to offset a portion of their electricity usage. The base price for each block is $13.
"At this point we have no idea how many residents may be interested," Harrod said. "The program can go into effect almost immediately upon completion of the participation agreement and related billing procedures."
The village will continue to issue utility bills as usual with Eco-Smart Choice participation appearing as a line item.
Utility officials believe participation will stimulate the demand for new renewable energy facilities. Their statistics indicate an average customer involved in the program can offset 8,500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each years - roughly the equivalent of not driving your car 10,000 miles.
AMP-Ohio has offered a "green pricing" program under the Nature's Energy name since 2004. Three member communities - Bowling Green, Cuyahoga Falls and Wyandotte - currently participate in this program made possible through an agreement between AMP-Ohio and Green Mountain Energy Company (GMEC).
As the contract with GMEC expires Dec. 31, AMP-Ohio is initiating its own green pricing program next year.
The next step for Minster village councilors is to amend the existing electric rates to include the new pricing. Harrod said he should have the necessary paperwork ready for formal approval early next year.
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