Switch to Direct Energy or First Energy?

If you live in Ohio, get ready  more energy companies to try to get your business. The latest: Direct Energy, and First Energy Solutions.  And even Cincinnati Bell has partnered up with an electric company, and is now making an offer.

Direct Energy is a Houston-based company with an aggressive marketing campaign.  First Energy Solutions is an Akron, Ohio electric company, recently granted approval by the PUCO to service Cincinnati.

Reps may even come to your door, claiming lower gas and electric rates if you switch. Is it true?

Cheaper....but....

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission, the PUCO, says Direct Energy, first Energy, and Cincinnati Bell are slightly cheaper than Duke Energy as of July 2011. 

Be cautious of "green energy" savings:  that is compared with Duke's "green" rate, not their regular rate.

According to the PUCO:

  • All deliver a slight savings over Duke's regulated rates, as of 8/1/2011.
  • But with any of these, you are saving money on just half your electric bill, or half your gas bill.  The other half is a fixed Duke delivery charge.  So don't expect a dramatic savings.

Want to save a bit, but prefer staying with Duke?  Then ask them about Duke Retail,  their market based arm, which competes more directly with these other companies, and may save you a bit on your bill.

Also, be careful showing your bill to a sales rep who comes to your door. The Ohio Consumer's Counsel says some less-than-ethical reps have used account numbers to switch people without their permission. If they ask to see your bill, ask them to leave some info instead.

Your best friend here is the PUCO's Apples to Apples chart.  It will show you which company is offering what, as of the current month.  These offers, and Duke's rates, change monthly, so it's important to read the latest comparison.

Click here for the PUCO's Apples to Apples Gas rates site.

Click here for the PUCO's Apples to Apples Electric rates site.

And don't waste your money.

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