Ohio: The Choice is yours
The passage of Senate Bill 3 in 1999 ushered in electric choice – allowing Ohio businesses to choose the company that generates their electricity. The law took effect on January 1, 2001 and provided a five-year market development period over which utility rates were frozen to allow the establishment and growth of a competitive marketplace before market-based rates would be introduced.
Starting in 2001, all customers of investor-owned utilities in Ohio have the right to chose to purchase their electricity supply from an alternative retail electricity supplier at unregulated rates. For customers that do not chose to switch, the utilities will still provide electricity service under regulated or capped rates as approved by the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Regardless of who supplied the electricity itself, the regulated utilities continue to own, operate and maintain the distribution wires and customers pay the utilities for electric distribution service separately from the electricity at rates regulated by the PUCO.
Initially, electric choice in Ohio grew slowly, with limited participation among retail electric suppliers and modest customer switching. At the time, the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and other regulators expressed concern that a transition to market-based rates in 2006 would not be prudent – electing instead to work with the various Ohio local utility companies, also known as transmission and distribution companies, to develop rate stabilization plans (RSPs). These RSPs vary by utility, and are set to expire over time. The RSPs are to be followed by new Electric Security Plans (ESPs) under which the older capped rates gradually expire over a span of several years and bring utility standard offer service rates up to more market-reflective levels. PUCO has summarized the ESPs for each of the utilities here:
- AEP (Columbus Southern and Ohio Power)
- First Energy (Cleveland Electric Illuminating, Ohio Edison, & Toledo Edison)
- Dayton Power & Light
- Duke Energy Ohio
With the gradual expiration of capped rates during these ESPs and a recent decline in wholesale electricity prices, Ohio businesses are experiencing unprecedented opportunities to save on their electricity rates as retail electric suppliers like GDF SUEZ Energy Resources offer a variety of energy products and services to better meet their business needs. Contact your GDF SUEZ sales representative for a quote today.