This past June, JD Power and Associates released a report that surveyed seven states’ satisfaction with deregulation. Of the seven states, Ohio was ranked the least satisfied, citing difficult communication with electricity providers as well as confusing price options. Meanwhile, in Texas, an August survey by the same company showed that Texan customers are happier than ever with the state of the deregulated electricity and energy market.
Texas, which has been a leader in the electricity deregulation market for over ten years, has had a lot of practice and today, they insist that their deregulated electricity has kept electricity prices consistently low. It stands to reason that it could be beneficial for Ohio if the state were to follow Texas’ example when it comes to the handling of energy deregulation, and the former might see the same positive results as the latter.
Ohio could benefit from a clearer, more efficient understanding of the various price options from the suppliers that provide their energy. Texas has an easily readable, fully expanded upon comparison site at www.TexasElectricityProviders.com where users can look up the biggest energy retailers in the state, their plans, and their availability by entering their zip code, city or town. The site also includes helpful information on how to choose providers, which questions to ask and, perhaps most importantly, options for what type of energy source each customer would prefer their electricity originate from.
That’s right, most of the Texas suppliers, and all of the major retailers, include some sort of green energy option. The plans they offer allow energy to be sourced from wind, hydro, and solar, and even include options to vary the percentage amount of total green sources in an electricity package, all of which at the very least bring green energy into the Texas grid even if it won’t be necessarily be directly put into consumers’ homes.
Ohio is still working through the PUCO’s (the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) bare bones web page, known as the Apples to Apples chart, which was updated recently on October 7th. The only explanation offered under the Price to Compare section is essentially reduced to a short paragraph, beginning with, “In order for you to save money, the new supplier’s rate needs to be lower than the Price to Compare rate shown on your bill.” At the bottom of the page, the various energy plans are listed, but still require a search of each provider's’ own, separate site in order to determine if you are indeed a residential customer. Luckily, there is hope for a better site. The startup company Power2Switch launched on August 7th, and promises to provide a similar service Texas receives, with customers able to search by rate and amount of renewable energy.
Still, no difficulty should prevent Ohioans from attempting to lower their own costs, and, as much as possible, choose energy from renewable sources, since the more renewable energy purchased, the lower green energy rates become. AEP, for example, offers a renewable energy plan that is 100% wind produced, available at a competitive price rate. The company also promises to match 100% of wind energy usage with Energy Certified Wind Renewable Energy Certificates (RECS). Likewise, Just Energy offers their JustGreen Power plan, which also ensures 100% of electric power is generated from renewable power sources. Similar plans exist for Public Power and Duke Energy. For businesses, companies like First Energy and Constellation Energy offer RECs for businesses in order to show support for renewable energy.
For now, both residential and business electricity users can take advantage of deregulation not only as an opportunity to lower electricity rates, but also to show support for the limited green energy providers in Ohio. Though deregulation is still at an early stage, and added effort is required to fully understand all of the green energy options available, increased participation can only encourage the retailers to continue adding renewable sources to the power grid, resulting in lower green energy prices, and a more reliable future for Ohio’s energy plans.
By Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Eckhart
Elizabeth Eckhart is a graduate of Loyola University, where she studied English and Communications, with a minor of journalism. She currently resides in Chicago, and enjoys writing realistic fiction as well as freelancing for various companies. You can follow her on Twitter at @elizeckhart.
For over a half a century, The Brewer‐Garrett Company has been delivering award winning energy services to their clients. They specialize in energy services, HVAC services, design/build, integrated facility services, and commissioning.