Energy Bills Explained
(And How You Might Be Able To Lower Them!)

Disclaimer:  This info is relevant to all of us that get a bill from AES.  Other energy providers like Duke Energy send out similar bills but they're not exactly the same.  This site is a work in progress but we wanted to get info out to everyone as fast as we can.  

We all get these and its rarely fun.  The monthly bill for our electric use.  Its got a pretty graph so you can see how much electricity you're using compared to the other months but other than that, for some of us, these things are hard to read.

We'll come back and write out a detailed explanation out for everything but lets cut to the important parts.  We all see the amount due, but where does that come from?  That amount is calculated from the Generation and Delivery Fees that go into getting electricity to your house.  

Delivery Fee - This is the fee you pay (per kWh) for using "the grid" which gets that electricity to your property.

Generation Fee - This is the fee you pay (per kWh) for the manufacturing of that electricity (think fee for running the power plant).

We don't have much control over the Delivery Fee, but Ohio law allows us to do something about the Generation Fee.  We're allowed to pick our own energy supplier.  AES still gets the power to your door, but another company is either hypothetically making it or, most likely, buys energy from them in bulk and then provides it to you at a price they determine.

To find the rate you're paying, flip the page over.  You want to look at the right side of the page.  On page 2, they'll list your supplier and the rate you're paying.  We've seen this figure moved around to various spots on the right side of the page.  If you already have a 3rd party supplier, it will be listed here as well.  If you don't already have a 3rd party supplier, it should say IGS Energy and the rate next to it at 10.8 cents per kWh.  The delivery fee is also located in this area (usually above it), but it won't be listed clearly as to what you're paying per kWh.  You should see something akin to "Delivery Fee" listed as a total charge.  You also need to know your total usage for the month.  To get this number, just flip back to page 1, look at your bar graph and take the total usage for the month off it.  Then take the delivery fee and divide it by the total usage.  That should give you the price you're paying per kWh to have the electricity delivered to your house.  And while you can change your supplier, you can't get away from this fee unless you generate your own power (wind, hydro, solar, etc).

So how do we find a different supplier?  You can see all the different suppliers on the state run Apples to Apples website.  Open the site, then select "electric", then residential (unless you're commercial), then select who your normal electricity supplier is.  If you live in Dayton, its AES Ohio.  

Apples to Apples

You should be seeing a view like this now.  The paragraphs at the top tell you what AES is charging and what you need to beat in order to save money against AES.  This is true for the most part (remember this when we come to the section on "monthly fees")

We've got the search menu on the left.  You can ignore it.  Next to that, we have all the suppliers you can select.  Lets look at the categories.

Supplier - This is the basic boiler plate info about the company that you're looking at as a supplier.  Name, phone number, usually a link to their site and Terms of Service (very important to read this at some point)

$/kWh - this is the price per kWh.  At the top of the page, it talked about what AES's current price so you probably want something cheaper than what AES is charging.  You should also notice the arrows under the text.  That allows you to sort the companies by price (either ascending or descending)

Rate Type - Fixed vs Variable - With a fixed rate, its exactly that.  Variable rates will naturally have some up and down to them according to what the energy markets and fuel prices do.  We've not seen a lot of people have good experiences with a variable rate plan.

Renewable Content - This gives you the percentage of renewable energy that's incorporated into the energy that they supply.  This could be directly generated by that supplier or they could be using Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) to inflate this number.

Intro Price - This plan has an introductory price that usually lasts between 1 and 3 billing cycles.  Afterwards, the price goes up.  Is the price listed the intro price or normal price?  That always depends on the supplier.  Check their terms and/or call them to find out!

Term Length - The number of months the contract you have with the company will last.  Right this information down and mark your calendar!!  Most suppliers will automatically re-enroll you into their program and sometimes this is an increased rate so be looking at your options a month or 2 before your contract ends!

Early Termination Fee - Just what it sounds like.  If you leave before the term length has expired, they have the right to rake you over the coals for extra money.  These fees used to be hidden in the terms of service.  At least they make them be up front about it now.  

Monthly Fee - This is the fee associated with just having an account with the company.  Not all companies have this.  There is NO correlation with the energy rate that you saw a few columns to the left.  If you use a ton of electricity every month, you may come up with a supplier that has a really good rate but charges a monthly fee.  If you run the numbers for your specific situation, you may find one of these offers financially advantageous.  But its not common.

Promotional Offers - Basically, if the company is running a promo.  If they are, it will have a link for the details that you can check out.

Once you've found a supplier that you like, read their terms.  If all that looks good, give them a call to sign up.  Many suppliers also have the ability to sign up online with their site.  You should be aware that it can take 1-2 billing cycles to get moved over to them.  We've had folks tell us that they've had to go through the process twice because something "went wrong" according to the supplier.  We would advise you to check on it after a few weeks to make sure it actually went through.  

If you have any more questions or need some help, don't hesitate to reach out to us.  We're here to help!