FirstEnergy customers are about to see the cost of their electric more than double, and NOPEC may be the answer

This also applies to Ohio Edison and Illuminating Company customers.
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 9:26 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Earlier this year, FirstEnergy had to buy electricity on the open market that was extremely high in price, which means the cost of that increase is about to make bills nearly double.

The answer to a lower bill maybe NOPEC, but more on that in a in a few paragraphs.

In June, the usage cost for FirstEnergy customers, which includes Ohio Edison and the Illuminating Company, will go from 5.3 cents per kilowatt hour. Here are what prices will be going to in June;

  • Ohio Edison: 12.39 cents/kwh
  • Illuminating Co.: 12.40 cents/kwh
  • Toledo Edison: 12.41 cents/kwh

It’s important to note not everyone will see the increase just because they get a bill from FirstEnergy, the Illuminating Company or Ohio Edison.

There are two charges on your bill; one for distribution which the cost of delivering the energy through power lines and meters, and one for the amount of energy you use which is called consumption or usage.

On your bill the name of the company that sells you the actual electricity will be listed under consumption.

If your company is FirstEnergy, Ohio Edison or the Illuminating Company your bill will be significantly higher in June and remain that way until May of 2024.

But you do have options, and can shop around for your electricity but what ever decision you make needs to be made by May 2, before your later meter reading by FirstEnergy.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has reinstated NOPEC which is a non-profit energy aggregator who buys electricity for the 240 Northeast Ohio communities it represents.

In August of 2022, NOPEC went through the same problem FirstEnergy is now having.

In 2022, NOPEC had to buy very expensive electricity on the open market during the energy crisis, which caused its prices to nearly double.

People in Northeast Ohio were outraged when summer electric bills went through the roof.

Because of the backlash, NOPEC decide to release all of its customer back to their original provider, and lower prices, which in most cases was FirstEnergy.

When NOPEC resumes distributing energy in June of 2023, it will do so at the rate of 6.45 cents per kilowatt hour.

You may have gotten a letter in April from NOPEC asking if you wanted to opt out.

By opting out you are agreeing to stay with FirstEnergy and their higher rate, or you have to go out on the open market and find a new provider.

If you do not fill out the letter from NOPEC to opt out, you will automatically be reenrolled in NOPEC.

You may say to heck with FirstEnergy and NOPEC all together, and you do have options.

PUCO has an Energy Choice Ohio website where you can find a new company from which to buy your electricity.

There are many options and companies to choose from and their prices can change daily.

Some offer a fixed rate and may lock you into a contract for a period of time.

Some offer a variable rate which can change from month to month.

Energy right now on the open market is relatively cheap and variable rates are low.

But things could change and those prices could rise.

PUCO has an entire website to help you through the process of finding a new energy supplier.

It includes questions you should ask when calling a new supplier so you understand the contract you are about to enter into:

  • 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?

When asked for a comment from FirstEnergy, here was their response:

“Ohio is a deregulated state, and while FirstEnergy’s Ohio utilities are responsible for delivering electricity to your home or business, they do not generate that electricity. That’s the role of an energy supplier. Customers can shop among a wide range of competitive energy suppliers for electric generation, which typically represents about half of a customer’s monthly bill. Our Ohio utilities do not profit from the generation portion of a customer’s bill.

Customers who do not shop for electricity are charged a default generation rate, called the “price to compare.” FirstEnergy’s Ohio utilities update their generation prices for default customers included in the “price to compare” annually based on the results of competitive procurements.

The company’s Ohio utilities’ (Ohio Edison, Toledo Edison and The Illuminating Company) respective prices to compare will be updated effective June 1 unless otherwise ordered by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The prices are adjusted in September to reflect the winter season, and there are also quarterly reconciliations that impact the price to compare that occur in January, April, July and October.

While the prices to compare for June 1 are not yet finalized, they are expected to increase on June 1 based on the results of the most recent competitive procurements. The average weighted price of our three auctions was $101.08 per megawatt hour, up from the current price of $53.62. The current prices to compare for our Ohio utilities are approximately 5.9 cents per kilowatt hour, effective April 1.

A variety of energy pricing options and plans are available from third-party generation suppliers if a customer chooses to shop. A careful review of those options could result in potential savings this summer. When evaluating options, customers should consider:

· Energy price

· Plan structure (fixed or variable rate)

· Contract terms and conditions

· Any taxes, charges or fees that may apply.”