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Electricity rates in Ohio

The Buckeye State offers choice when it comes to your energy supplier — and opportunities for kilowatt-hour rate savings.

Ohio residents and businesses have had the power to choose their electricity suppliers since 2001. Shop for the lowest kilowatt-hour rates from more than 100 third-party electricity suppliers, buying groups and government aggregators in the Buckeye State, each offering a variety of energy plans to compare.

Best energy prices in Ohio

See the lowest rates available today in your location on the deregulated energy market.

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Key players in the Ohio energy market

Ohio introduced Senate Bill 3 — better known as the Ohio Electric Restructuring Act — in 1999, passing it into law in 2001 and ushering in the restructuring of the state’s electric industry that allows consumers and businesses to purchase their electricity directly from suppliers.

Today, energy in the Buckeye State is delivered through a system of third-party service suppliers, certified retail energy suppliers, co-ops, consumer groups, government aggregators and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that work together to get electricity from power plants to your front door.

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)

PUCO is the regulatory authority of Ohio’s utilities that supply electricity, natural gas, water and telecoms. It was established in 1911 to address concerns in the railroad industry. Today, its mission is to “assure all residential and business consumers access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices” and “relaxing regulation” where needed to support competition.

Service providers

Electric utilities generate and supply the electricity that powers homes and businesses. The six utilities in Ohio cover a specific territory.

Electric utilityAssigned territory
AEP OhioServes 1.5 million residents in central, southeast and northwest Ohio in two rate zones

  • Columbus Southern Power
  • Ohio Power
AES OhioServes 527,000 customers across 24 counties Western Central Ohio

  • Dayton
  • Miami Valley
Duke EnergyServes 840,000 customers in parts of southwest Ohio counties

  • Brown
  • Butler
  • Clermont
  • Hamilton
  • Warren
The Illuminating CompanyServes 700,000 customers in northeast Ohio

  • Ashtabula
  • Conneaut
  • Edgewood
  • Geneva
  • Greater Cleveland
  • Grand River
  • Madison
  • Mentor
  • Painesville
  • Perry
Ohio EdisonServes more than 1 million customers in northeast and north central Ohio

  • Akron
  • Cleveland
  • Youngstown
Toledo EdisonServes more than 300,000 customers in northwest Ohio

  • Archibold
  • Bryan
  • Delta
  • Greater Toledo
  • Wauseon
  • Whitehouse

Electric cooperatives

Buckeye Power is a locally managed, member-owned nonprofit that serves more than 380,000 homes and businesses. All who join the cooperatives become members of the national network Touchstone Energy, which works on behalf of member-owners in more than 45 states.

Buckeye Power manages 25 electric cooperatives that serve 77 of Ohio’s 88 counties:

  • Adams Rural Electric Cooperative
  • Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative
  • Butler Rural Electric Cooperative
  • Carroll Electric Cooperative
  • Consolidated Cooperative
  • Darke Rural Electric Cooperative
  • Energy Cooperative
  • Firelands Electric Cooperative
  • Frontier Power Company
  • Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative
  • Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative
  • Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative
  • Logan County Electric Cooperative
  • Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Cooperative
  • Mid-Ohio Electric Cooperative
  • Midwest Electric
  • Midwest Energy & Communications
  • North Central Electric Cooperative
  • North Western Electric Cooperative
  • Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative
  • Pioneer Electric Cooperative
  • South Central Power Company
  • Tricounty Rural Electric Cooperative
  • Union Rural Electric Cooperative
  • Washington Electric Cooperative

Certified retail energy suppliers (CRES)

Some 15 retail energy suppliers certified by PUCO transmit and deliver electricity to homes and businesses in the state, among them:

  • AEP Energy
  • APG&E
  • Champion Energy
  • Constellation
  • Direct Energy
  • Discount Power
  • Energy Harbo
  • Engie
  • Frontier Utilities
  • Just Energy
  • Ohio Gas and Electric
  • Public Power
  • Santanna Energy
  • SFE Energy
  • ThinkEnergy
  • Xoom Energy

Consumer buying groups and government aggregators

Ohio law allows for groups of customers and organizations to form consumer buying groups to purchase electricity at stronger terms and lower rates than doing it alone. These groups can extend services to benefit their members, like analyzing energy use and streamlining billing.

The law also allows for cities, counties, townships and villages to form municipal buying groups called government aggregators. PUCO certifies these aggregators to bundle the electric load used by the group for the lowest rates on electricity or natural gas.

The law also requires the aggregator to develop plans that are circulated to residents through public hearings. Additional requirements depend on how a resident signs up for the aggregator:

  • Opt-in aggregators. Residents sign up on their own to join the aggregator.
  • Opt-out aggregators. Residents are automatically enrolled in the aggregator and choose to be excluded.

Current member communities receive a 100% renewable energy supply through the AEP Energy Eco-Advantage Program:

  • Albany
  • Amesville
  • Athens
  • Athens County
  • Belpre
  • Buchtel
  • Chauncy
  • Chesterhill
  • Dayton
  • Gallipolis
  • Glenford
  • Jacksonville
  • Logan
  • Lowell
  • New Straitsville
  • Racine
  • Rio Grande
  • Shawnee
  • Somerset
  • Trimble

You’re already enrolled in the program if your electricity bill shows your generation supplier as AEP Energy.

Alternative energy companies

Most electricity suppliers in Ohio offer renewable or clean energy plans that come from natural sources or replenished processes, like wind, hydro or solar energy.

How to find the cheapest electricity rate in Ohio

You have two ways to find the lowest electricity rates: compare certified retail energy providers (CREPs) or join a buying group or government aggregator.

How to compare CREPs

You have the option of choosing among multiple retail electric providers and energy plans to find the best fit to power your home or business. But first, you’ll want to know your average electricity use.

  1. Calculate your current energy use. Look at two or three of your most recent energy bills and average out your use by energy unit — per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for electricity. This information will help you shop for similar or cheaper rates on the market.
  2. Shop by ZIP code on an energy marketplace. Marketplaces like EnergyBot can help you compare rates and energy plans specific to your residence with your ZIP code and information about your home.[EB widget]
  3. Compare energy providers and plans. Weigh kWh rates, contract terms and potential for savings to narrow down the best provider for your needs.

How to join a buying group or government aggregator

Before joining a group or aggregator in Ohio, learn about the goals, requirements and billing details required for members:

  • Group goals. Ask how the aggregator finds the lowest costs for members and whether energy sources or service perks factor into the decision.
  • Number of members. Larger groups have stronger buying power to leverage low rates, streamlined billing and additional benefits for members.
  • Membership requirements. Read the group’s terms and conditions for billing details, how taxes work and fees you can expect to pay as a member.
  • Contract terms. Understand how long you’re tied into the group’s contract, renewal dates and how to leave the group if you’re no longer interested in being a member.

What is Energy Choice Ohio?

Energy Choice is the state-operated energy shopping website managed by the Public Utility Commission of Ohio. You can learn about your rights under deregulation as well as file a complaint against third-party suppliers on the site. With Apples to Apples, you can see energy comparison charts for residential, small commercial and industrial addresses.

How to compare electricity plans

You can choose from many third-party electricity suppliers, buying groups and government aggregators in Ohio, each offering different rates and energy plans. Factors to weigh when researching your options come down to rates and the type of plan that fits your electricity needs and budget.

Fixed, variable and hybrid rates

Suppliers, groups and aggregators in Ohio offer the choice of fixed, variable or hybrid kilowatt-hour rates:

  • Fixed rates. Fixed rates allow you to lock in a rate for an established contract term. These plans protect your budget from surprise rate spikes, though they can keep you from more easily switching providers with lower rates if the market dips.
  • Variable rates. Variable rates allow you to purchase energy without a contract. These plans allow you to jump to a different provider at any point, though you can expect to pay increased rates when demand is high, such as during colder weather months.
  • Hybrid rates. Fixed and floating options split your contract into a fixed rate for part of your term and a variable rate for another.

For variable rates, ask your potential provider if it limits how much rates can fluctuate, which can help you keep costs manageable.

Introductory rates and signup bonuses

Many electricity suppliers offer lower advertised rates or bonuses to entice new customers. These bonuses can be reflected as a lump-sum savings or percentage knocked off the standard rate.

Introductory rates can last the first quarter of your contract, for six months or even the full term. Read the fine print of any offer to understand the rate you’ll pay after the bonus and avoid overpaying for your energy in the long term.

Contract terms and details

Understand the contract system of any supplier, group or aggregator you’re interested in. Look at available terms, how the supplier or group handles renewals and whether you can cancel before your contract ends.

  • Contract terms. Contracts can range from three months to a year or more. Longer terms can be easier to manage, while shorter terms allow the flexibility to leverage market dips.
  • Contract renewal. Some providers require you to renew a contract term, allowing you to review or change the details of your rate schedule, while others automatically renew your terms unless you tell them not to.
  • Contract cancellation. Markets being what they are, you may find lower rates so enticing that you’re willing to pay a termination fee to end your contract early. Understand the penalties you face so that you can factor them into any future decisions to switch providers.
  • Late fees and grace periods. Ask potential providers about late fees and how many days after the due date you can make a payment without paying a penalty.

Costs and fees to expect in Ohio

Your electricity bills include home energy costs that can vary by supplier, group or aggregator.

  • Unit or consumption charges. Energy costs are expressed as kilowatt-hours (kWh) for electricity and therms for natural gas, with variances among residential, commercial and industrial customers.
  • Delivery and transmission costs. This is the cost a utility company charges to cover moving energy from power plants, across power lines and pipelines and to your meter.
  • Capacity or demand fee. Some electric companies charge a fee to cover the cost of ensuring enough electricity or gas when demand peaks.
  • Ratchet charges. Also related to demand, these are periodic fees charged by utilities to recoup costs related to surges in use.
  • Taxes. Most suppliers or groups include tax costs in pricing schedules. Ask your supplier or group about taxes if you don’t see them clearly listed in your bill.
  • Other costs and fees. Some states and local governments charge fees that fund public policy programs related to such causes as energy conservation or support for vulnerable communities.

If you choose an alternative energy option, your energy bill may include fees associated with the renewables you choose.

How to switch electricity suppliers in Ohio

After you’ve found an electricity supplier, buying group or government aggregator that fits your energy needs, gather up a current monthly bill and get ready for the big switch.

  • Call your new energy supplier. Confirm the details of your energy plan and ask any remaining questions. You may need to provide information from your current utility provider to transfer your account. Ask how long you can expect to wait until it’s completed.
  • Call your old provider. Your new supplier will likely notify your old supplier, but it’s helpful to confirm the process directly with your current company.
  • Review your first bill. Make sure the details of your new bill match your contract or agreement and flag any issues as soon as possible for a fix.

Benefits of deregulation in Ohio

Energy suppliers in the Buckeye State highlight the financial benefits of electricity choice, further advertising the benefits to the environment through renewable energy.

  • Competitive rates. In theory, deregulation requires suppliers to compete for your business, motivating quality service and keeping prices lower than regulated rates over time. Commercial and industrial customers stand to save the most over regulated electricity companies.
  • Group buying power. Ohio law allows consumers to join buying groups or municipal government aggregators to leverage low rates and stronger terms than doing it alone.
  • Access to alternative energy. Deregulation has allowed alternative energy suppliers to compete on the market, offering 100% renewable options to consumers.

What to look out for in Ohio

Results of deregulation are mixed, and there’s research to suggest that it doesn’t lead to the savings it promises over the regulated market. There’s also the potential for suppliers to lure customers into plans without transparency around the risks.

  • Focus on new customers. Some customers say that the incentive for suppliers to draw in new customers sometimes leaves the needs of existing customers in the cold.
  • Shaky supply security. Restructuring in Ohio has stagnated investments in existing power plants, resulting in reduced capacity. If generators aren’t able to meet demand, the system can collapse. Case in point: In 2021, the Texas power grid failed due to unexpected extreme weather, resulting in an energy crisis that left more than 10 million people without heat — and electricity suppliers pointing fingers.
  • Potential for scams. A confusing deregulated market has resulted in unscrupulous suppliers targeting the elderly, low-income households and other vulnerable communities with aggressive calls to switch utility companies and promises to save money.

Written by

Kelly Suzan Waggoner

Kelly Suzan Waggoner is a Personal Finance Editor at AOL and the former US editor-in-chief at Finder, where she worked with a talented team of expert writers and editors focused on helping readers to save money, earn money and grow their wealth. She joined Finder in 2016 as an editor, germinating the site from money transfers to include the wide scope of personal finance. Kelly has worked with publishers, magazines and nonprofits throughout New York City to develop best practices around editorial, SEO, plain language and accessibility, including Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, HauteLife Press and Queerty. She is quoted on such sites as Lifehacker and CertifiKid, and ghostwrote Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies, published by Wiley. Kelly earned a BA in English from Russell Sage College and a Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing from Poynter News University. She is trained in digital and website accessibility and plain language, and is a member of ACES: The Society for Editing and the Center for Plain Language. Between projects, she toys with words, flips through style guides and fantasizes about the serial comma’s world domination. See full profile

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