More than half of Ohioans shopping for power

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This marks the first time in the state of Ohio’s history that energy consumers are selecting to purchase their electricity from a competitive energy supplier rather than from their utility.


Lancaster Eagle Gazette
 Russ Zimmer,

For the first time, more power customers in Ohio are buying their electricity from a supplier other than their native utility. Even still, the state is considering some changes, big and small, to encourage more homes and businesses to shop for their electricity.

Ohio has been deregulating its electricity supply market in steps since 2001. Electric choice, which allows consumers to buy their electricity from competitive suppliers rather than the utility that delivers it to their home, is a cornerstone of that philosophy.

Choice appears to be picking up steam in areas where it had struggled to get a foothold. Two years ago, less than 2 percent of American Electric Power’s customers were purchasing their electricity from a competitive supplier. That’s up to 28 percent as of Sept. 30. There were 19 companies offering plans this month for power through AEP’s network of lines, compared to 12 just one year ago.

The last official count from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio at the end of September showed 51 percent of Ohio homes and 52 percent of all electricity customers in utility service areas were buying their power from a competitive supplier rather than their native utility. This does not include the 380,000 mostly rural customers who are served by nonprofit electricity cooperatives, none of which are participating in the open market.

Switch rates exceeded 50 percent for the first time earlier this year. That historical tipping point occurred right in the middle of PUCO’s look at what is working and not working in the competitive arena.


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