What you should know about Apples to Apples Electric and Natural Gas. Learn how you can get the best rates.
Apples to Apples Ohio is an energy price comparison tool. Managed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, it uses the "price to compare" to set a base energy rate.
The price to compare is the price per kWh or ccf that is set by the utility. It is available for anyone who wants it. It fluctuates with market conditions.
There are also third-party energy providers that consumers can enroll with. In some cases, their rates are lower than the price to compare, sometimes not.
The Ohio Apples to Apples site is divided into two parts. Electricity and natural gas.
Electricity is priced using cost per kilowatt-hour. At a high level, there are two pieces to the total cost per kWh. The generation cost and the distribution and transmission costs.
The generation costs is the rate that you can shop for. It is a variable cost and correlates to the amount of electricity you use.
The distribution and transmission costs are set by the utility. You can't shop or change these rates. This part of your bill pays for the grid and power lines that get the electricity to your home.
Natural gas is priced using cost per ccf. A ccf is a unit used to measure natural gas that is equal to a hundred cubic feet.
Similar to electricity the natural gas price to compare fluctuates. It also has costs and fees associated with the supply and delivery.
“Price to Compare” is a baseline energy rate. It is estimated based on what you would pay your utility if you did not choose an alternate supplier.
Here’s an example of “Price to Compare”:
If the future annual generation cost of electricity is $800. You have an historical average annual usage of 10,000 kWh. Your “Price to Compare” would be 8 cents per kWh.
The “Price to Compare” is subject to change every month based on your utilities Standard Service Offer (SSO) rates. Standard Service Rate is what your utility would charge if did not opt to go with a third-party energy supplier.
For most people, the best idea is to use the SSO rate as a baseline of market rates. Similar to how you would use the MSRP price when shopping for a car.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the government entity in Ohio that regulates providers of utility services. They regulate electric and gas companies, telephone companies, water and wastewater, as well as trucking and rail companies.
Apples to Apples Ohio is the energy rate comparison chart created and maintained by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The goal of the “Apples to Apples” is to give Ohio consumers a tool to compare prices and contract terms.
The “comparison chart is a valuable tool for residential consumers who are looking to compare rates. Each energy supplier in Ohio is required by PUCO to publish two (2) rates to the residential pricing table. This requirement gives residential consumers a number of suppliers and rates to compare and choose.
Unfortunately, Ohio businesses are not as fortunate as it relates to the “Apples to Apples” comparison chart. PUCO does not require the same energy suppliers to publish commercial rates.
Commercial energy rates are not published daily on Apples to Apples. That makes the tool ineffective for business owners.
To compound the energy shopping challenge, most businesses have significantly higher energy usage than residential homes. This means a much higher energy bill each month.
In general, energy suppliers are risk averse. They require commercial entities to submit information on their energy usage so that the supplier can customize a plan.
In developing a plan, suppliers factor in a business’ energy usage, location, load factor, load shape, and time of usage. With more data suppliers can reduce their risk and offer an energy rate that reflects their cost of supplying energy.
The commercial rates on the Apples to Apples comparison chart are primarily teaser rates. They are used by energy suppliers to get more business leads.
PUCO regulations impact pricing, maintain the quality of service, provide safety, and support a healthy competitive market. It’s important to track PUCO regulations as they will impact the energy market and every home and business in Ohio.