With electric utility rates expected to climb dramatically for residential and commercial customers effective June 1, communities are adopting strategies designed to assist residents and businesses in finding the best prices. Subject to approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Ohio Edison customers who aren’t currently on a community aggregation program will be paying 12.39 cents/kwh (kilowatt hour) for electric. Under Summit County’s electric aggregation program, valid through May 2024, township customers are currently paying 4.67 cents/kwh.
To better understand the electric utility billing structure, electric utility bills are divided into two parts. The first part is FirstEnergy’s charge for delivering electricity to a home or business, and the second part is the charge for the actual electricity used by a customer. As to the second component, customers can independently look for the most competitive price for electric and choose an energy supplier that can offer a lower price for generation.
First Energy recently addressed the expected rate increases and stated: “The electric company is required to purchase electricity through a competitive auction process for ‘non-shopping’ customers who do not choose an energy supplier, and the rate is reflected in the ‘price to compare’ listed on their monthly bills. FirstEnergy electric companies do not control the price of generation, which is provided to customers at cost.
“A typical non-shopping FirstEnergy Ohio residential customer using 750 kilowatt hours can expect to see an increase to their total bill of approximately 47% from May to June. The prices, which update annually on June 1, are seasonal, with summer pricing in effect for the months of June through August, and winter pricing in effect for all other months. Winter prices are expected to remain higher than those seen this past winter.”
Energy aggregation is the most frequently used method to secure price rates for electric and gas utilities and involves a community working with a supplier to lock in rates for a defined period. Ohio Law permits community utility aggregation and in Summit County, aggregation legislation was adopted as early as May 2002.
As a comparison to another energy utility, Bath Township has been part of a Summit County aggregation program for natural gas rates through the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, which can be reached at 1-855-667-3201. Eligible customers are automatically enrolled in the Standard Program Price. NOPEC is one of several companies offering natural gas delivery pricing and, as such, residents can also choose to opt out of a community’s aggregation program and select their own supplier for gas or electric service.
Bath Township, as part of Summit County’s aggregation program, has partnered with Energy Harbor for electric aggregation. Current pricing under the Summit County plan is .046704/kilowatt hour valid through the May 2024 billing cycle. Residents who aren’t currently enrolled in an aggregation program, or who may have voluntarily opted out of the Summit County aggregation plan but remain eligible for aggregation, may contact Energy Harbor at 1-888-254-6359 to determine if they can return to the aggregation plan.
However, some residents and businesses are ineligible for aggregation, including:
- Participants in the Percentage of Income Payment Plan
- Customers who are in arrears on utility payments
- Mercantile accounts with monthly usage in excess of 750,000 kwh
- Net Metering accounts associated with solar energy generation
The website energychoice.ohio.gov offers a comprehensive comparison of gas and electric suppliers. While some suppliers may offer lower rates, be mindful of early termination fees, plan structures (fixed or variable rates) and the plan duration offered between suppliers. Property owners can also obtain helpful information on how to conserve energy by visiting firstenergycorp.com/save_energy. ∞