Back on November 10th I did a blog post about the negotiated gas prices that NOPEC announced for this winter. Since then, I’ve had a couple of follow up questions from residents that wanted to learn more about how to take advantage of the NOPEC rates. Here’s the deal: Kent is a NOPEC community so everyone in Kent should automatically get those rates unless they specifically opt out or have opted out in the past. In other words, if you think you can get better rates than those negotiated by NOPEC you are free to decline NOPEC participation but the thing is if your gas rates start to rise and NOPEC becomes a cheaper option you can’t re-up with NOPEC for 2 years without paying a penalty. Here’s an example of a Kent resident who urged me to spread the word to folks about the NOPEC rates.
In case this situation applies to you, I thought it was worth sharing a real live example of the experience of a Kent resident to take advantage of NOPEC:
I don’t know why this program (NOPEC) is not publicized in any City publication or web site. Not knowing of this program has caused me and I am sure many other homeowners in Kent to sign up with one of the many natural gas suppliers listed on the PUCO “Apples to Apples” web site at much higher rates.
The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, or NOPEC, is made up of 126 member communities, large and small, spread across eight Northeast Ohio counties. Voters in each of these communities approved the formation of NOPEC in November, 2000, by passing ordinances that authorized their local government to aggregate all utility customers within the community.
The concept of NOPEC is a simple one. By banding together into one large buying group, the communities gain leverage in the deregulated marketplace. The individual utility customers NOPEC represents enjoy the advantages of bulk buying power, professional expertise, and consumer advocacy on their behalf. With more than 600,000 potential customers, NOPEC is the largest public aggregation in the United States.
Q: How do I join the buying group?
A: If you live in a NOPEC community, you are automatically included, unless you choose not to be. Ohio has what is called an “opt-out” procedure. This means that all eligible customers of an aggregated community become part of the buying group unless they take specific action to opt out of the aggregation. An opt-out Notice was sent to every eligible electricity consumer giving him or her this option.
Q: What if I did not receive an opt-out Notice?
A: There are several reasons why some customers may not have received an opt-out notice. Customers may have previously signed a notice from FirstEnergy that prohibits them from releasing a customer’s information to independent suppliers. Customers may have also been inadvertently excluded from the database acquired from FirstEnergy. Although this category only makes up about 4 percent of the entire customer base, NOPEC is currently working to identify these missing customers and give them the same opportunity to enroll in the program. Customers who did not receive a notice and want to join the program should call NOPEC at 1-888-848-7914.
Q: What if I change my mind?
A: All consumers who do not opt out are enrolled for a period of two years, after which they will be given another opportunity to opt out without having to pay a cancellation fee. Consumers who wish to leave before the two-year period has expired may be subject to a cancellation fee.