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Butler commissioners endorse energy discount program

| Saturday, June 29, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Most Butler County residents should start receiving letters soon that contain a pitch for discounted electric service.

County commissioners have given the letters their support.

Butler County and First Energy Solutions last week signed an agreement in which the county will endorse the electric discount program, lending its name to the marketing effort. Akron, Ohio-based First Energy Solutions will handle the marketing, including mailing letters.

Consumers stand to save some money and the county stands to make a little through its endorsement.

County Chief Clerk Amy Wilson said for each Butler County customer who signs onto the program, the county receives $5 from First Energy Solutions and the municipality where the customer lives receives $5. Wilson said First Energy Solutions indicated consumers could save 8 to 13 percent on bills. It offers a couple of programs. Customers would sign up for an 18-month plan, Wilson said.

County officials haven't estimated how much money the program could raise for the county, Wilson said. First Energy sent letters to nearly all areas of the county it serves.

“We're endorsing the fact that people should shop around for their electric service,” Commission Chairman Bill McCarrier said. “I'll certainly take a good look at it when I get a letter in the mail.”

Hopewell and Beaver County marketed the program last fall, according to Diane Francis, First Energy Solutions spokesperson, to about 74,000 eligible customers. The company signed up about 5,000 Hopewell customers and 4,000 Beaver County customers, Francis said.

“We had a good response,” Francis said of the Beaver program.

First Energy has marketed the program elsewhere in Pennsylvania but no other communities signed up yet.

Under the program, First Energy Solutions generates electricity and the customer's electric company is responsible for transmission, reading meters, billing and other functions.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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