Ohio electric bills up: How to use ‘Apples to Apples’ to pick a new supplier by: Justin Dennis
Posted: Jul 18, 2023 / 03:00 PM EDTUpdated: Jul 18, 2023 / 03:45 PM EDT
CLEVELAND (WJW) — FirstEnergy electric bills rose this summer, but ratepayers may be able to save by using the state’s Apples to Apples tool to pick a new electricity supplier.
The rate for the electricity generation supply portion of FirstEnergy customers’ bills was expected to more than double starting June 1, going from just under 6 cents to more than 12 cents per kilowatt hour.
Here are FirstEnergy companies’ rates per kilowatt-hour effective June 1:
Ohio Edison: 12.39 cents per kWh
The Illuminating Company: 12.4 cents per kWh
Toledo Edison: 12.41 cents per kWh
A typical FirstEnergy customer using an average 750-kilowatt hours per month would see their bill rise about 47% from May 2023 to June 2024, according to an April news release from the utility.
“With energy rates elevated as we head into the hot, summer months, now is a great time to review your options so that you can select a rate or program that works best for you and your family,” Mark Jones, a FirstEnergy vice president, is quoted in the release. “By selecting a competitive energy supplier that offers a rate lower than the price to compare on your bill, you may be able to pay less each month.”
Ohioans don’t get to choose the utility that delivers power to their homes, but they do get to choose who supplies that power.The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s Apples to Apples comparison tool lets ratepayers see how much electricity suppliers in the state will charge for certain periods — what’s called the “Price to Compare.” It also shows whether the offer is for a fixed or variable rate, the length of the billing term and whether there are any extra fees.To compare electricity suppliers, select “Electric,” then select the utility serving your home from the drop-down list. At the top of its page, you’ll see its price to compare for the current billing term. It’s recommended you have your most recent utility bill on-hand.
When you find an offer that looks right for you, you can contact that supplier for more information on the offer or to sign up. The utilities commission recommends asking them several questions:
Are you certified by the PUCO?
Is the price fixed or is it variable?
If it is a variable price, how does it change?
Are there any built-in price increases or decreases?
Does the price depend on how much electricity I use or when I use it?
How long is the contract for that rate?
What happens when my contract expires?
Do you charge any cancellation fees?
Can I stay on budget billing with my electric company?
Do you offer budget billing for your part of the bill?
Will there be switching, membership or other fees?
Are there any deposit requirements?
Will I receive one or two bills a month?
What sources are used to produce the electricity?
Is there a customer incentive for signing up?
If you’re asked to sign a contract, pore it over and make sure you understand the terms and conditions like the length of the billing term, the attached fees and how you’ll be billed. Don’t give out your utility account number until you’re ready to sign.
A confirmation letter will come by mail, and you have seven days to cancel if you change your mind.
Here’s the commission’s breakdown on how energy choice in Ohio works.
The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel offers some tips on its website for picking an energy supplier:
Those living in the more than 200 Ohio communities served by the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, or NOPEC, recently decided whether to rejoin the energy aggregator or opt out. Its electricity generation rate was expected to be 6.45 cents per kilowatt-hour for meter readings in June through December. But after that six-month period, the rate may change month-to-month.