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Electric Customer Choice Handbook

Introduction

Electric choice began in Ohio on January and on July 6, 1999, Ohio Governor Bob Taft signed Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 3 (Electric Restructuring Bill—also referred to as the Ohio Electric Customer Choice bill), beginning the transition to electric restructuring and customer choice for the State of Ohio. Most electric customers are able to choose the company that supplies (generates) their electricity. If you choose a new supplier, Duke Energy Ohio will continue to provide the regulated delivery of service to your home or business, maintain the poles and wires, and respond to emergency situations.

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Understanding Service Charges

Unbundling of Electric Rates

Today, the pricing for electricity is unbundled (separated) and identified on your Duke Energy Ohio bill. Customers who select a generation supplier no longer pay the following charges to Duke Energy Ohio:

  • Rider RC (Retail Capacity Rider) recovers the cost of generation capacity purchased in the Competitive Auctions
  • Rider RE (Retail Energy Rider) recovers the cost of energy purchased by Duke Energy Ohio in the Competitive Auctions
  • Rider AER-R (Alternative Energy Recovery Rider) recovers Duke Energy Ohio's costs of complying with the State of Ohio's Alternative Energy requirements
  • Rider RECON (Fuel and Reserve Capacity Reconciliation Rider) allows Duke Energy Ohio to recover costs incurred, but not recovered, under its 2009-2011 Electric Security Plan. This charge expired June 30, 2012
  • Rider RTO (Regional Transmission Organization Rider) recovers certain costs incurred by Duke Energy Ohio relating to its participation in FERC-approved regional transmission organizations
  • Rider SCR (Supplier Cost Reconciliation Rider) ensures that Duke Energy Ohio recovers 100% of the cost it incurs in procuring energy and generation capacity for its generation customers through the Competitive Auctions

The charges associated with the riders above make up the Price to Compare.

Bill Options

If you participate in the Customer Choice Program, either the supplier and Duke Energy Ohio will bill you separately or Duke Energy Ohio will send one bill that will include the supplier’s charges. Either way, you can expect to see a breakdown of charges for each of the basic components of electric service. If the supplier bills you separately, the Duke Energy Ohio bill will note this.

Typical Bill Charges

The following are electric charges that all customers pay and you may not avoid when you choose a certified supplier (click here to view our easy-to-read bill statement):

  • Delivery Charges – Charges to deliver electricity to your home or business including electric distribution wires, transformers, substations, and other equipment.
  • Customer Charge – A fixed monthly basic distribution charge to partially cover costs for billing, meter reading, service line maintenance, and equipment. This cost is incurred even if a meter registers no usage for that billing period. The amount of the set charge depends on the kind of electric service received by the customer.
  • Delivery Riders – Charges to recover various costs associated with Duke Energy Ohio’s electric operations and funding for Ohio energy-related programs.
  • Supplier Charges – Charges from your Certified Supplier.

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Comparison Pricing

Price to Compare—Key to Choice Shopping

The question that's on everyone's mind is, "How much will I save?" To determine this, you will need to know the price that a supplier must beat in order for you to realize savings. This is known as the Price to Compare. Residential customers can determine this amount to compare offers from certified suppliers by visiting www.duke-energy.com/ or by calling our Call Center at 800-544-6900 for this information.

Figuring Out Savings

To estimate potential monthly savings:

  • Subtract the supplier's price per kilowatt hour from Duke Energy Ohio's Price to Compare.
  • Multiply the difference by the annual kilowatt hours you use. The result is your annual savings.

Billing and Usage History

Customers may also want to provide their billing and usage history information to potential suppliers to determine possible savings.

Residential customers can obtain up to twenty-four months of billing and usage history by registering with our Online Services at www.duke-energy.com/. Residential customers may also contact Customer Service for billing and usage history at 800-544-6900.

Individualized Price to Compare

You can calculate your specific price to compare with our Price To Compare Calculator. Enter your most recent 12 months of electric usage data that appears at the bottom of your bill and then select ‘Calculate.’ The calculation result is the price that a supplier must beat (in cents per kWh) for you to realize savings.

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Contracting With a Supplier

Competitive providers of generation are known as certified suppliers. Suppliers must meet certain financial, managerial, and operational criteria before they are certified. A supplier must be certified before marketing its services to our customers. For a list of certified suppliers participating in the Electric Customer Choice Program, visit our electric suppliers' list page or call us at 800-544-6900.

The process of contracting with a supplier is solely between you and the supplier. Duke Energy Ohio will not be involved in this process until we are notified by the supplier of your decision to switch. At that time, we will send a confirmation letter to you indicating the name and number of the supplier, and the effective date of the switch.

Customer Information Needed by Supplier

When you decide to switch suppliers, the supplier will need your account number to provide to Duke Energy Ohio to process the switch. In addition to your account number, the supplier may also ask for other information such as:

  • Basic personal information (e.g., address, telephone number, etc.)
  • Meter number
  • Social security number

Customer List

Upon request, Duke Energy Ohio will provide to any certified supplier the most recent customer information list. The list is updated quarterly. Your information is automatically included on this list. You will be notified via a bill insert of your options (to be added to or removed from the list).

Note: Duke Energy Ohio will not be providing phone numbers to suppliers. However, opting off the customer list does not guarantee that you will not be contacted by suppliers as they may call you directly, gathering your phone/address information from other sources.

If you have previously notified Duke Energy Ohio to be removed from the list, you do not need to contact us again unless you wish to be placed back on the list.

Click here to receive more information on how to have your name added to or removed from the customer list.

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Questions to Ask a Supplier

When shopping for a supplier, you will want to gather information from the supplier in order to make the best choice. Following are some questions you may want to ask the supplier.

  • Is the supplier certified by the PUCO and registered with Duke Energy Ohio?
  • What is the price per kilowatt-hour?
  • Is the price fixed or does it change?
  • If it is a variable price, how does it change?
  • Are there any built-in price increases or decreases?
  • Will there be any additional fees?
  • Is there a customer incentive for signing?
  • Are there any special add-on services?
  • How long is the contract?
  • What happens when my contract expires?
  • Will I receive a separate bill from the certified supplier?
  • What fuel sources are used to produce the electricity?

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Sign-up Period

A customer may sign with a certified supplier at any time. To switch to a supplier, contact the supplier directly.

When Duke Energy Ohio receives a customer enrollment from a supplier, the relationship between the supplier and a customer becomes effective on the next scheduled meter reading date, provided the enrollment is received by Duke Energy Ohio at least 12 calendar days before the reading date. If submitted less than 12 calendar days prior to the next scheduled meter reading date, the enrollment will be effective on the second scheduled meter reading date after the enrollment is submitted.

Example: A customer’s meter is read on May 16, 2009. The customer signs with a supplier and Duke Energy Ohio receives the customer enrollment from the supplier on May 20, 2009. Generation charges will begin accruing with the supplier beginning with the next scheduled meter reading date of June 14, 2009.

Click here for a list of suppliers that are certified by the PUCO and Duke Energy Ohio.

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Bill Inquiries

Inquiries related to bill charges or credit issues should be directed to the appropriate entity to which the question pertains. In the instance that one bill is produced through Duke Energy Ohio but the question relates to the supplier charges, the supplier’s phone number will be printed on the bill. For Duke Energy Ohio related inquires, contact the Call Center at 800-544-6900.

Note: Partial payments are allocated to regulated charges first.

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Emergency Situations and Outages

You will continue to notify Duke Energy Ohio in the event of an outage situation or safety problem, just as in the past. Duke Energy Ohio will continue to maintain all existing power lines regardless of the electric supplier you select. As always, we are committed to providing safe and reliable service.

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Customer's Return to Duke Energy Ohio

A customer may switch back or return to Duke Energy Ohio's market based standard service offer for any reasons, such as:

  • Customer's decision
  • Termination of a supplier contract
  • Opt out or termination of a governmental aggregation program
  • Supplier withdrawal
  • Supplier termination of a customer's contract

You may contact your supplier or Duke Energy Ohio at 800-544-6900 to return to Duke Energy Ohio's Standard Service Offer Electric Security Plan (SSO-ESP). Duke Energy Ohio will then send you a notice of your return date. You will have seven days from the postmark date of Duke Energy Ohio's notice to cancel the order if you decide to stay with your current supplier. After the seven-day period, you will be returned to the SSO-ESP, as of the date shown on the notice you received from Duke Energy Ohio.

Supplier Default

When a supplier does not fulfill its obligation to supply power, customers served by the supplier will return to Duke Energy Ohio's SSO-ESP rate on their next regularly scheduled meter reading date.

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Dispute/Resolution Process

You should contact Duke Energy Ohio customer service at 800-544-6900, or your supplier to address questions/concerns. If a satisfactory response is not received, you may contact the PUCO by phone, mail, or e-mail to seek assistance. Click here for a link to contact information.

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Billing Cycles and Dates

To view information on billing cycles and meter reading dates, click here.

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