Columbus green-energy electric program can defer rates into the future

The city of Columbus’ green-power electric aggregation contract with AEP Energy includes a tool for rate changes that allows the firm to defer part of customers’ bills to the future in a way that could make the program initially appear more competitive on the open market.

But eventually, customers must settle up for those adjustments through future rate changes over the next 13 years until the contract expires — potentially bringing swift and dramatic increases or decreases, depending on how the “Price to Compare Accrual Offset Fund” is managed.

The contract says the fund was created in order to allow the program “to remain competitive with the Price to Compare” charged by AEP’s regulated utility, which formerly served the aggregation customers. “Price to Compare” is the apples-to-apples chart the Public Utility Commission of Ohio creates for consumer to compare electric (and natural gas) pricing plans and contract terms with suppliers who are enrolling new customers. 

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