All About Your Electricity and Natural Gas Supply in Ohio
Ohio began to introduce competition to residential energy markets in 1999, with the passing of Senate Bill 3. Since 2001, many electricity and natural gas customers throughout the state have a choice of who provides their energy. Looking for energy supply options in Ohio? You've come to the right place!
Do You Have a Choice?
If you live in the service area of any one of the following utilities, you are eligible to choose who supplies your electricity:
- Columbus Southern Power Company (AEP)
- Dayton Power & Light
- Duke Energy
- The Illuminating Company
- Ohio Edison
- Ohio Power Company (AEP)
- Toledo Edison
Customers living in the following natural gas utilities have a choice of supplier:
- Duke Energy
- Columbia Gas of Ohio
- Dominion East Ohio
- Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio
What Deregulation Means for You
Deregulation of energy markets in Ohio means that you have a choice of who provides your energy supply. This means:
- Greater choice of energy supplier
- Wider price options - choose a floating price, or lock in a fixed price
- Competition among suppliers, leading to lower prices and better customer service
What has not changed with deregulation is the operation of energy infrastructure. Your local utility still owns, operates, and maintains distribution network for electricity and/or gas, and the energy you receive will be the same, regardless of who supplies it. The same thing goes for interruptions or the quality of the electricity and/or gas you receive - in short, nothing changes but the price when you switch suppliers!
Choosing a Competitive Retail Energy Provider in Ohio
Throughout much of the state of Ohio, you have a choice of your electric and/or natural gas provider. Here are some tips to help you make a decision about who supplies your energy:
Deregulation has brought you choice not only in who supplies your electricity, but also what kind of price you pay for it. If you purchase electricity from your utility, you are paying a variable rate known as the "Price to Compare". This rate changes every month, and is based on the utility's costs of procuring supply. This rate for natural gas is called the "Standard Choice Offer"
However, if you choose to purchase your electricity from a competitive energy retail, you have the option of locking in a fixed price. In general, we recommend choosing a fixed price for your electricity if you have the option - find out why.
Competitive Retail Energy Providers in Ohio
Whether you're shopping for electricity or gas, it's a good idea to check out the offers of at least four or five retail providers before narrowing down. We also recommend checking out what current customers are saying about retail providers in your area.
Comparing Retail Providers The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has launched a website, www.energychoice.ohio.gov, to help Ohioans make "apples to apples" comparisons amongst electricity and natural gas offers.
You can also call us at 1 (832) 460-0233 to get up-to-the-minute information on the best deals available in your zipcode
Contract Terms and Conditions
Here are a few things to look out for when you're reading the terms of your electricity or natural gas contract:
Early Cancellation Fees?
Also known as "early exit fees" or "termination fees", this is a charge for leaving your (usually fixed price) contract before the end of its term.
Automatic Service Renewal
You should always check what your chosen retail energy provider's policy is for when your contract comes to an end. Some providers will automatically switch you back to the utility, while others will automatically renew you.
It's a good idea to check out how much of a late payment fee your chosen provider charges, though you should always contact them to see if you can make a special payment arrangement if you cannot pay your bill on time.
It's a good idea to be aware of the various ways that you can get in touch with your energy provider, as a general rule.
Understand Your Energy Bills in Ohio
Both your electricity and natural gas bills can be broken down into three main types of charges:
- Charges related to your energy supply: covers the cost of the electricity you have consumed over the previous month.
- Charges to cover the costs of transportation: for electricity, this covers the costs of transmission and distribution along high- and low-voltage wires; for natural gas, this refers to the costs of pipeline transportation and storage
- Taxes and state surcharges: these may be flat sums, or variable (based on how much energy you have consumed in a month)
How Your Energy Service Works in Ohio
Electricity and gas services in Ohio work in similar ways, and the process of delivering energy to your home can be broken down into four main steps:
The first step of the process of bringing energy in your home is to generate it (in the case of electricity) or to get it out of the ground (for natural gas).
Most electricity in Ohio is generated from non-renewable resources, primarily coal (which in 2013 made up about 70% of Ohio's electricity generation), and natural gas (about 15.5%) Renewable resources make up about 2% of Ohio's electricity mix.
Natural gas is sourced from the state of Ohio and surrounding states.
Transmission is the next step in bringing energy to your home. For electricity, this means sending power from the generating plants along high-voltage transmission lines to local distribution networks. For natural gas this step refers to its transportation in pipelines (often overground, at high pressures) to the local distribution network.
The third step in the process is local distribution from the local distribution network to your home. For electricity, at this stage power is transformed into a lower voltage at the distribution network and travels along local wires to your home. For gas, this is the stage where gas travels in underground pipelines in your community until it reaches your home.
The final stage of this process is when energy reaches your home. You are billed for your energy supply by either your utility or your chosen retail provider.
Got a question about your power supply in Ohio? Give us a call at 1 (832) 460-0233 to find out your best options