Thousands of Ohio homeowners have received letters in recent months asking them to switch gas or electric companies.
But this week, many Duke customers in the city of Cincinnati are receiving a letter saying that their electric will be switched unless they opt out. What should you do?
Customers Want Savings
On first glance, it sounds like a great deal. Every time 9 News asks people if they'd like to save on their electric bills, we get just one answer: absolutely.
Some customers are so upset about the most recent Duke rate hikes that late last year they complained in front of Cincinnati City Council. But now they have a choice.
Cincinnati residents are now receiving a letter from City manager Milton Dohoney, explaining the city's recent decision to "aggregate" its electric use.
After voters approved aggregation last November, the city chose First Energy Solutions to offer electric at a lower rate than Duke. In addition, First Energy claims their energy is "green," not from coal.
What it all Means
-Unless you opt out, you will be switched to First Energy.
-You will save 23 percent on your electric generation charges, or about $10 a month, compared with Duke, the city manager says.
-However, Duke will still bill you for delivery charges, which is about half of your bill. So don't expect dramatic savings.
One caution for budget or even billing customers, however: First Energy does not allow even billing. You may want to opt out if you like getting the same bill every month.
What if you Already Switched?
If you have already switched to another provider, you may want to stick with them if you feel their savings are good enough.
If you go with the aggregation plan, there is always a risk of being hit with a termination fee. Several people in other communities that offered similar aggregation plans tell us they have been hit with $25 to $50 early termination fees from some other electric companies.
So you may want to call your alternate supplier, if you have one, and make sure there is no fee to join the Cincinnati First Energy plan.
Is it the Best Deal?
If you are wondering if there may be better deals, check with the Public Utilities Commission.
You can compare various electric suppliers at the Ohio PUCO's website: www.puco.ohio.gov.
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