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Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Duke Energy Alternatives

Updated: Wednesday, October 15 2014, 10:42 AM EDT
CINCINNATI (Howard Ain) -- Deregulation has led to lower utility rates in Ohio.

While thats good for consumers, it has also brought dozens of companies into the area looking for business.  Local 12 Troubleshooter, Howard Ain, says that has caused some confusion and aggravation for homeowners.

Hi.  How would you like to save money on your home's utility bill?  I believe I can do that for you, but first please let me review your utility bill.

That's the sales pitch used by some of the companies that don't really work with Duke Energy.  In fact, they actually compete with it. 

Duke is aware of this and says you should not be pressured.

Some of the concerns have been the aggressive tactics. Some folks telling us they're feeling bullied and I would above all advise customers, read the contract.
Duke's Sally Thelen says some contracts have a cancellation fee; others have a grace period allowing you to change.

Not only are competing companies coming to area homes, they also send letters like this promising to save you money. Some give you a 50 dollar debit card if you switch.  They also call on the phone, in some cases they call homes incessantly.

Joe Ann Kern said, It got to the point where every time we'd sit down to eat it seemed like they had a camera in the house because that's when the phone would ring.

Robert Gillum said, I've just had them show up at my door several times over the summer always wanting me to switch but I always turned them down.  I don't really understand it, don't really want to deal with it to be honest.
Alright, so here's some help.
First, check your utility bill to see what rates you're paying for electricity and natural gas.  You'll find that on page two of your bill.  Duke's price to compare here for electric is $6.13 cents per kilowatt hour.
See if you can beat that rate by going to the Ohio Public Utilities Commission website for its apples to apples price comparison chart.  You'll find comparable electric prices for as low as 4.95 cents.  But, check the terms to see how long the contract runs and if there are any cancellation charges.
Next, Duke's gas cost recovery charge is up on page two of its bill.  It says .5596 cents.  Again compare that at the Puco apples to apples natural gas chart.  There are rates as low as .495 cents, but carefully check the terms because some rates change monthly.
Bottom line, you can save money off Duke Energy's rates but you have to be careful and read the contract terms carefully.
Howard Ain has put up links to all the resources mentioned here under the red, Get It button.

Watch video HERE
Howard Ain, Troubleshooter: Duke Energy Alternatives

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