With the sizzling temperatures we have experienced this summer, high electric bills may be in store for most of us.
At the same time, our mailboxes are full of confusing offers from various companies to lower our monthly utility bills by purchasing electricity from them, instead of our current supplier.
I recently met with Amy Kurt, Director of Public Affairs for the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, in an effort to better understand these offers. I encourage you to visit their website, www.pickocc.org to obtain their excellent fact sheet that compares specific offers from one company to another.
• PERCENTAGE OFF THE PRICE TO COMPARE- this deal offers a discount off the price to compare printed on your bill. Remember that the actual price could vary with changes in the wholesale price of electricity.
• INCENTIVE OFFERS- these offers may include a certain month for free, or a rebate at the end of the contract term.
1) All electric-choice suppliers must be certified. Go to the website cited above for this list;
2) OCC's Electric Choice Information web page continues to update its information about these offers. Check this web page often;
3) Know what questions to ask about the offer. The website has a fact sheet titled, "Electric Choice 101;
4) If you do switch electric generation suppliers, notification will be provided to you and to your electric utility. Under law, you have seven days from the date postmarked on the notification to cancel with no penalty;
5) If you do return to your local utility, you could be charged a fee in addition to early cancellation fees by the supplier;
6) Beware of automatic renewal provisions. The renewal rate could be higher than the original rate you signed up for;
7) DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR BILL OR ACCOUNT NUMBER. This could allow someone to enroll you in services you did not intend to purchase.
I hope that this has been of help. Please contact the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel for specific answers to an offer that you are considering. Amy, and her staff, are there to help you.