Note: This story appears in the Thursday, Nov. 7 newspaper on Page A3.
COOLVILLE — The first electric aggregation ballot attempt failed by two votes.
The second attempt failed by a relative landslide.
Coolville voters rejected electric aggregation in Tuesday’s General Election, with 31 voters in favor and 75 against.
Coolville and Nelsonville remain the only places in Athens County to not have an electric aggregation program in place. Five other villages and the city of Athens all have it, along with the unincorporated area of Athens County.
This initiative allows local governments to shop for a utility supply contract covering the entire community. The goal is to achieve a lower rate for residents, with customers able to opt out of the program at any time.
The Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council works to get these measures on the ballot. SOPEC had estimated that aggregation would have saved each Coolville resident about $5-10 per month on their electric bills.
Though it has passed in numerous area towns — such as Amesville, Trimble, Buchtel, Albany and Chauncey — voters in other communities have remained skeptical. Along with Coolville, a trio of aggregation measures were rejected up in Perry County on Tuesday.
“It’s hard to tell how these are going to swing,” SOPEC’s marketing director Mathew Roberts said on Wednesday.
Voter turnout was quite a bit lower in Coolville this year than in a previous attempt in 2017. The result that year was 73 votes in favor and 75 votes against.
Will SOPEC try for a third time in Coolville? Roberts said he isn’t sure, but that the organization plans to continue working to get these measures put to a vote throughout the region.
“At the end of the day,” he said, “it’s the voter’s decision.”