Public Utilities Commission Stepping Up Efforts To Inform Customers Of Price Options

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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has four new employees, who will help educate consumers on their options for cheaper electricity.

Public Information Officer Lauren Smalley said before 2001, Ohio had a regulated market, which means consumers could not choose their supplier.

"The utility territory that you were in, that was your utility,"  said Smalley.  "You didn't have any options for your supplier beyond that.  In 2001, a deregulated market was enacted, so you now can shop for the generation portion of your bill."

According to Smalley, the generation price amounts to about 50% of the total bill.

Smalley said changing the electricity supplier does not change the distributor, so consumers with American Electric Power will still call AEP for repairs and outages.

Smalley said consumers need to look at their bill to find out if they can shop for better prices.

"They want to look at their price to compare, it is spelled out,"  Smalley explained.  "It's usually wedged between your charges for the month and your usage for the month.  You then want to take that to our apples to apples chart that's published on the PUCO website. You want to see what your price to compare is and if the offers that are on the apples to apples chart are lower, shopping could be for you."

On the chart, AEP customers have a choice among 19 suppliers.

Customers with Dayton Power and Light, Duke and First Energy can also find supplier options on the chart.

Smalley added that switching to a cheaper supplier will not change the quality of electricity.

PUCO's price comparision chart is updated weekly and can be found at the link here.