Springfield residents will have the opportunity to rejoin the city’s electric aggregation program, which city and program officials said will save money after Ohio Edison announced rate increases effective June 1.
Here are the key things to know:
1. Springfield has its own program.
The city and Clark County offer different aggregation programs, which allow local governments to choose an outside supplier for all residents. Those who do not wish to take part must opt out.
Springfield is part of the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) service, one of more than 200 communities in Ohio participating in the program. NOPEC said it is the largest governmental, nonprofit provider of bulk utility purchasing in Ohio.
2. What are the rates?
NOPEC will offer Springfield consumers a rate of 6.45 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for electricity used, a rate for June to November as the standard program price.
That is roughly half of the new rate Ohio Edison announced Wednesday of 12.39 cents, up about 110% from 5.79 cents/kWh now.
NOPEC said consumers can also opt into a monthly variable price or sign up for a longer fixed term of 12 to 24 months.
3. Why prices are rising.
Ohio’s electric bills are determined by the price for generation supply, and by the price for the transmission and distribution of electricity. Customers can shop for competitive suppliers but not for the delivery and other fees.
Wholesale standard service auctions determine the generation price.
Last year, customers in AES Ohio areas such as Montgomery, Miami and Greene counties were the first to experience large increases based on the market changes in those auctions. Factors cited have included the war in Ukraine, inflation and other issues.
Now, First Energy (Ohio Edison’s parent company), Duke and other utility companies are facing the same price increases from wholesale auctions.
Some experts believe the Ohio Edison rate increase will last a year but likely go down next year.
4. What Ohio Edison says.
Ohio Edison, in a press release, said a residential customer using 750 kWh per month can expect to see an increase in their total bill of about 47% from May to June.
“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,” said Mark Jones, vice president of customer engagement for FirstEnergy. “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.”
Ohio Edison serves more than one million customers across 34 Ohio counties, including 57,804 customers in Clark County.
5. Didn’t NOPEC leave Springfield?
Springfield officials this month explained NOPEC’s decision last year to return its city customers to Ohio Edison. At the time, NOPEC said it represented approximately 12,700 small businesses and residences in Springfield that were affected by the decision.
City Finance Director Katie Eviston said NOPEC made the decision because of the dramatic increase in the market price of electricity. She said NOPEC’s decision resulted in consumers realizing utility savings.
She called the temporary suspension of NOPEC very unusual, and she does not expect it to become a regular occurrence.
endorsed the program and accepted a $67,205 grant through NOPEC.
6. What do city residents need to do?
Springfield residents should receive a letter soon about enrollment in the NOPEC program.
NOPEC will automatically enroll all eligible residential and small business accounts in its electric aggregation program. Unless you choose to opt out, you’ll receive utility rates negotiated specifically for NOPEC customers.
You may receive a letter from your utility company confirming that NOPEC is your new energy supplier. There is nothing you need to do, and there will be no disruption of service. Your utility company will continue to deliver gas and/or electricity service.
If Springfield consumers miss the current offering, they can join NOPEC later, but the NOPEC deadline for enrollment of May 2 offers the only guarantee they will avoid the spike in prices anticipated to hit consumers in June.
7. Do your research.
Consumers can accept the city aggregation program or leave it without incurring fees, but experts cautioned consumers who are shopping on their own to do their research.
Other suppliers can charge fees for leaving early, or some offer initial rates that rise after 90 days.
For more information about electric rates and aggregation:
EnergyChoice.Ohio.gov offers comparisons of electric suppliers.
NOPEC, which serves Springfield residents, offers a Customer Care Center at 855-667-3201.
OhioEdison.com is part of First Energy.