Thousands of Ohioans have signed up with Cincinnati Bell Energy to save money on their electric bill.
The program, when launched a couple of years ago, offered substantial savings over Duke Energy's regulated electric rates.
But if you have it, check your bill carefully.
Some of those same families who enjoyed savings last year through Cincinnati Bell-purchased electricity are now paying much more.
Substantial Hike in Electric Rate
Several WCPO viewers report big increases in their electric rate in 2014.
While the recent weather has spiked everyone's gas and electric bill, this actually has nothing to do with you using more energy. Cincinnati Bell tells us the cold weather has caused wholesale energy rates to increase, including electricity. Therefore, anyone on a variable rate will now pay a higher rate.
Axccording to the Ohio PUCO, when the one-year deal expires, your rate may jump from 6 cents per kilowatt hour ($0.06) to more than 9 cents ($0.099).
That's more than a 30 percent rate hike, and is much higher than Duke's current rate.
Not Just Cincinnati Bell
Cincinnati Bell says if you call or go to their website you can lock in a new rate that is 10 percent less than Duke's variable rate, but that's the catch: You must contact Cincinnati Bell when your locked-in rate expires. You do not automatically go onto a new low, promotional rate.
Cincinnati Bell says all customers are notified that their low locked-in rate is about to expire in advance.
However, this is not just an issue with Cincinnati Bell.
Many electric providers under Ohio's Energy Choice program raise rates once your lock-in rate expires, but Cincinnati Bell's is one of the most dramatic.
What You Can Do
If you are with any alternate electric or gas supplier, you need to stay on top of your rates and know when your promotional period ends.
In some cases, they will offer you a low promotional rate to stay. In others, you may find that switching back to Duke's variable rate is the better deal.
You can compare rates at the Ohio PUCO's Apples to Apples site. Electric choice is not available in Kentucky or Indiana.
As always, don't waste your money.
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