Voters in Liberty Township on Tuesday approved aggregation programs for both electricity and natural gas.

Electricity aggregation was approved with 1,678 votes in favor and 893 votes against, according to totals reported by the Hancock County Board of Elections.

Township voters approved natural gas aggregation with 1,670 votes in favor and 890 votes against.

Vote totals are unofficial and include absentee ballots. All five precincts reported, with a voter turnout of about 57.2 percent.

The township is the latest in Hancock County to decide ballot issues about electricity and natural gas “aggregation” programs.

The City of Findlay and various other townships have already approved similar issues.

An energy choice program, overseen by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, is authorized by state law. It allows citizens to band together to buy natural gas and/or electricity as a group, gaining “buying power” to receive a lower price for the group’s natural gas and/or electricity than individuals would.

The resolutions on the ballot covered the unincorporated areas of the township.

According to the website http://www.energychoice.ohio.gov, state law allows local government aggregation by cities, townships or counties with “opt-in” or “opt-out” options for consumers.

With the approval by voters, the township’s programs will automatically cover all eligible residents unless they “opt-out” in writing.

The approval authorizes the township trustees, or a designee, to plan and manage the program. There also will be at least two hearings for public input on the plan.

Once the plan is adopted, utility customers will be notified of their automatic enrollment, including the rate for each utility, and the charges and terms/conditions of program enrollment.

For natural gas customers, an opt-out option is available every two years. For electricity customers, an opt-out option is available every three years without paying a switching fee.

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