Summit County, Ohio - On May 8, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro executed the documents necessary for the County to join the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC). NOPEC is the largest governmental retail aggregator in the nation and will provide the County an opt-out natural gas aggregation program (Natural Gas Program).

In April, Summit County Council approved the County’s participation in the NOPEC program, which is expected to bring lower natural gas rates to participants and reduce administrative burden for the County.

“Allowing the County to join NOPEC will be beneficial to our residents by allowing savings on natural gas bills through leveraging group purchasing efforts,” said County Executive Ilene Shapiro. “Through NOPEC’s General Assembly our County will be represented along with communities throughout Northeast Ohio in choosing our energy suppliers and maximize our potential savings.”

Residents in the City of New Franklin and in the Townships of Bath, Boston, Copley, Coventry, Northfield Center, Richfield, Springfield and Twinsburg will automatically be enrolled into the Natural Gas Program in the coming months. NOPEC currently serves over 200 communities in 13 counties: Cuyahoga, Lake, Ashtabula, Lorain, Huron, Summit, Medina, Portage, Trumbull, Columbiana, Mahoning, Seneca and Geauga. In Summit County, NOPEC currently serves the City of Macedonia and Villages of Clinton, Northfield, Richfield, and Reminderville, and the Township of Sagamore Hills (NOPEC also does electric aggregation only in the City of Twinsburg and the Townships of Lakemore and Peninsula).

The large buying power of NOPEC will allow County residents to benefit from low and sustainable natural gas rates without providing any public funds, dues, or fees. Additionally, businesses and non-profit organizations within the County’s NOPEC footprint will be able to participate in the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program.

The PACE program allows property owners to finance qualifying energy efficiency projects through special assessments on property tax bills. Because the financing of the projects is secured by special assessments, the interest rates on borrowed funds are typically below-market and allow businesses to finance projects off balance sheet. Eligible PACE projects include energy efficiency improvements (HVAC, windows, doors, roof, and lighting), geothermal energy, solar, wind energy, and biomass or gasification. The benefits of the PACE program include reducing energy costs, increasing the value of improved real property and making Summit County more environmentally friendly.

The County is currently in the process of developing an Energy Special Improvement District (ESID) that will be a prerequisite for the PACE financing, and will announce more details about the ESID and PACE program in the coming weeks.