NOPEC Electric Customer Transition
Frequently Asked Questions
The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) is the largest nonprofit governmental energy aggregator in Ohio supplying electricity and natural gas for more than 20 years to over 1 million residential and small business accounts in 242 communities and 19 counties statewide.
Energy aggregation brings residents and small businesses together to gain group buying power for the purchase of competitively priced electric and/or natural gas from a retail supplier certified by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).
If you live in a NOPEC member community, you are automatically enrolled, unless you choose not to be. Ohio has what is called an “opt-out” aggregation process. This means all eligible residents and small businesses in a member community are sent an enrollment letter notifying them of their eligibility. After being notified, they are automatically enrolled into the aggregation program unless they choose not to be by returning the opt-out card enclosed with their enrollment letter. Enrollment letters are sent to every eligible electric customer every three years.
NOPEC Inc. and NOPEC Foundation Inc. are not-for-profit organizations that exist to benefit NOPEC member communities and customers. NOPEC Inc. administers energy efficiency grants and other programs. NOPEC Foundation Inc. was set up as a 501c(3) entity to serve as a charitable organization for the benefit of our member communities. For example, the NOPEC Foundation donated $125,000 to local food banks at the start of the COVID pandemic.
Current Energy Market and Pricing
The energy markets experienced unprecedented inflation due to international tension and hotter than normal weather. NOPEC was not immune to this inflationary spike putting our prices in sharp contrast to the historically low pricing NOPEC customers have enjoyed in the past.
For 20-plus years, NOPEC’s strategies have resulted in consistently competitive pricing to the benefit of our customers. Unfortunately, last year, worldwide events created an unpredictable and unprecedented energy price spike. This resulted in our customers experiencing much higher rates than the utility SSO. That’s why we acted swiftly and decisively to return them to the lower utility rate.
No. NOPEC is a nonprofit meaning we don’t profit from higher energy rates. We have a small staff, we’re governed by an unpaid volunteer Board of Directors, we take no taxpayer dollars, and our member communities pay nothing to belong to NOPEC.
Electric Customer Transition
As a consumer-focused non-profit, NOPEC operates and advocates for what’s best for our communities and customers. As we looked at the price forecasts following the invasion of Ukraine, it became increasingly apparent that being on the SSO rate would result in our customers paying less for their electricity through Spring 2023.
Customers enrolled in these other NOPEC programs will remain in their current program offering. If customers have questions about their current enrollment, they can contact NOPEC’s Customer Care Center at 855-667-3201, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A year ago at this time, NOPEC’s rate was competitive in the Ohio retail markets and with the SSO rates. Then, like everyone in the energy industry, we watched as the cost of energy began to rise globally driven by prices in Europe, the war in Ukraine, supply chain issues and other forces outside of NOPEC’s control. By July 2022, NOPEC prices were nearly double the utility’s default SSO rate, driven up additionally by the hotter weather across the country this summer. To benefit our customers, we acted prudently and quickly to return 550,000 electricity customers to the lower SSO rate. We informed the PUCO of market developments and our response plan. As of October 25, 2022, all Standard Program Price electric customers were transferred back to the utility's lower monthly Standard Service Offer, allowing you to receive the utility's currently lower monthly rate, referenced as the "Price to Compare" on your monthly bills.
Any claim that we sat and waited while our customers experienced months of much higher prices is simply false. We moved as quickly as possible to provide rate relief for all these electric customers.
No. What NOPEC did was look out for its customers by helping them lower their electric rates. NOPEC followed Ohio law and rules in transitioning these customers to the utility’s SSO rates. And by no means is NOPEC alone in taking this action. Approximately 40 other governmental aggregations in Ohio also have returned about 100,000 customers to the SSO this year. Many other commercial and industrial customers have returned to the SSO as well.
In sum, NOPEC did the right thing for its customers as quickly as possible in compliance with Ohio law.
We’re not predicting the future. What we do know with certainty is the locked-in SSO rate will be reset in mid-2023 and is likely to be more reflective of current market rates. This means that NOPEC’s electricity rate likely will again be competitive with the utility rate.
When the SSO rates increase this year, as we anticipate, we expect our customers will return to NOPEC to again receive the many benefits of our aggregation.
These were unprecedented conditions around energy prices and we took the unprecedented step of turning 550,000 electric customers back to the lower SSO price. We believe the future SSO rates will more closely reflect current market pricing moving forward making this kind of price disparity much less likely in the future.
This claim is without merit. We voluntarily and legally moved our customers to the SSO so they could receive a lower electric rate -- just as many others have done. Individual customers have always had this option available to them. Moving these groups of customers at once is being done by aggregators and others across Ohio because of the unprecedented price spikes and the design of the SSO which allows for this migration to lawfully happen.
Other Energy Offers
READ THE FINE PRINT CLOSELY. Some for-profit energy suppliers are using this uncertainty to their own advantage. Residents and small businesses should be especially wary of energy offers that sound too good to be true. Most are deceptive and have costly consequences. For example, a solicitor seeking your business may ask to see your utility bill or ask for your account number to “compare rates.” Consumers should NEVER share their utility bill or account information with anyone that contacts them unprompted and should review the fine print very carefully before signing any contract.
NOPEC’s Customer Care Center is available by calling 855-667-3201, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.