Fixed rate hikes

Utility companies want you to pay more every month before you even turn on your lights

Photo by David Wilson / Creative Commons

Utility companies have rolled out proposals to increase upfront, mandatory residential fixed fees, called the “customer charge.” Sometimes the increase is so high, that for many people it’s like adding a 13th-14th electric bill.

In states like Wisconsin, this approach has led to higher costs, particularly for low-use and – at times – low-income customers, by reducing customers’ ability to control their bill. It eliminates the incentive to conserve energy and purchase more energy efficient appliances, for instance, because it’s a flat charge you have to pay every month no matter how much energy you use.

In a desperate effort to cover costs in a rapidly changing energy landscape, utilities have proposed these fixed rate charges all over the nation. If they hadn’t banked on coal remaining cheap, they wouldn’t be in the position they’re in.

The good news is, national resistance to these proposals began in 2014 and gained momentum in 2015, once public opposition grew. We need to stop this in Ohio right now. All Ohio residential customers must speak out against fixed rate charges, or we’ll see more utilities turn to them to compensate for their bad business decision to delay the transition to cleaner energy and more efficient energy use.

Recent news about fixed rate increases in Ohio