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My new charge account

April 30, 2014 - Rob Weaver
I just switched electrical suppliers. Again.

While American Electric Power transmits and delivers the electricity, I had been paying Duke Energy for the juice. Where on the grid the power actually is generated is a mystery to me.

But I received a letter earlier this year noting my original contract would expire with the May meter reading. I had been paying $0.0649 per kilowatt hour. I prefer to express that as 6.49 cents per kwh.

My electric bill stated our household used an average of 1180 kwh per month. At that volume, I had been paying an average of $76.58 per month for electricity (delivery charges extra).

Without acting, the letter stated, that rate would jump to 8.25 cents per kwh. That would be $97.35 per month, on average -- $20.77 more.

So I started looking online for other options, and ended up at the Apples To Apples Comparison Chart on the website. The selection varied greatly.

Just Energy offered the cheapest deal, a variable rate now at 6.46 cents per kwh. But that can change monthly, which made me nervous. It sounded like a teaser rate, and made me as uncomfortable as an adjustable rate mortgage.

On the upper end of the spectrum, Public Power LLC offered a 13.99 cents per kwh variable rate for 100 percent renewable content.


DP&L Energy offered a rate fixed at 7.29 cents for 36 months with a $199 early termination fee but no renewable content. Duke offered 7.99 cents fixed for 21 months, with a $75 break-up fee. At least that would be better than doing nothing.

But I signed up with IGS Energy for 7.69 cents fixed for 12 months. There is no termination fee and 100 percent renewable content, which -- if I understand correctly -- doesn't necessarily mean the electricity consumed in my home will come from renewable sources. It apparently means the utility buys renewable energy certificates, which means the same watts I use would be generated from sources such as solar, wind, biomass and hydro.

That rate works out to $90.74 per month, on average. That's still lower than my cable/Internet bill.

IGS also offered 7.49 cents for no renewable content. That would have cost $88.38 per month, so it cost me less than $2.36 a month to “go green.”

I still plan to find ways to reduce the electrical use at home. Our dog spends too much of the day lying down. Maybe I could design a canine version of a hamster wheel for her, and connect it to a generator. ...


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