Natural Gas and Electricity News

REVISED Aug. 2, 2021


Sorry for the lengthy column but its primary purpose is to educate you because you might be paying more for exactly the same product.

First, many of you attend my annual meeting about gas and electricity rates. Mark on your calendar that it will be Thursday, September 30 (DATE CHANGE) at 6:30 pm at the Human Services Center at 2 Community Drive around the back of the Community Center. Be sure to bring your most recent gas and electric bills and something to take notes with so you can get personalized help.

Let’s start with natural gas. If you have NOPEC/NextEra Energy, the rate on your July bill should be no higher than $3.11. But get ready, the rate on your August bill will shoot up to $3.74! We’ve been saying that rates have been trending higher and projections are that they will probably be over $4.00 on your September bill already. So, should you make a move? If you’re more comfortable with a fixed rate call NOPEC, if you’re a member, at 855-667-3201 and tell them to switch you to the one-year fixed rate of $3.53. If rates do go back down you can always cancel with no early termination fee. By the way, if your NOPEC rate is $3.55 on your current bill you have NOPEC’s “standard program rate.” Call NOPEC at 855-667-3201 and ask to be switched to the one-year fixed rate of $3.53. The standard program rate will probably go up.
If your rate is higher than $4.00 already you’re probably with a for profit company that is charging you toooooo much.
Call 526-2606 if you are in that trap. You need to switch.
Turning to electricity, the rate you’re paying is in a little box about half way down the right side of your bill that is labeled “Charges From”…and then the name of your supplier like NOPEC-NextEra Energy for example. In that box look for the line that starts with “Basic Charge.” Your electricity rate is on that line. NOPEC’s rate is now .0586 cents per kWh (5.86 cents) and should stay there until the end of August. If you can’t find NOPEC down there or the name of any company you are probably buying your electricity as well as its distribution directly from The Illuminating Company as opposed to NOPEC or a for profit company. That’s fine. Let it go. Eventually you will get a letter from NOPEC saying that you’ll automatically be switched to them and that’s fine too. When it comes to electricity rates the most important thing to remember is that regardless of your rate you can’t save a lot of money or lose a lot of money unless your monthly average use is more than 1500 kWh.
Every now and then you will get a mailer from one of the for-profit companies or a phone call or even someone coming to your door. Their rates are typically higher than NOPEC’s. Your response to the calls and especially people coming to your door should be a simple and firm, “No thanks!” They all claim that they can lower your rate but that is rarely true.
Don’t take a chance, call 526-2606 to inquire whether an offer is a good deal before you act. They rarely are.
Also, some of you who have been with First Energy Solutions are getting a letter telling you that you’ve been switched to “Energy Harbor.” That’s a raw deal. Call them immediately and tell them to cancel you at no fee. You’ll be automatically sent to the Illuminating Company for the supply side of your service as well as transporting the electricity to your home.
Here’s another one. People are getting letters or post cards that look like they’re from The Illuminating Company but they’re really a company called Smart Energy. Toss it. That’s a bad deal.
Then there is a multipage offer from CleanChoice Energy offering 100% clean, pollution free energy for 6.70 cents per kWh for the first month. I can’t bet my life but typically that number will go up after the first month. Besides, compare that with NOPEC’s
12 month fixed rate of 5.93 cents per kWh for exactly the same thing. By the way, it sounds like the electricity arriving at your home is 100% electricity from renewable sources. That’s not possible. Think about it. There would have to be a dedicated line from the clean energy producer to your home and that’s not going to happen. Your purchase of “green electricity” simply means that more renewable electricity is going into the distribution system. You’re actually paying for your neighbor to get the same thing.
Also a reminder that sooner or later you will hear from the Illuminating Company that they are going to take away your present electric meter and replace it with a “Smart Meter.” Essentially you don’t have a choice in the matter because if you refuse you’ll be billed for a lofty $28.29 a month!!!

Finally, when in doubt, always call Ted with questions. 440-526-2606.
The opinions expressed are those of Ted Lux and do not necessarily reflect those of Mayor Hruby or City Council.