NewsLocal NewsCuyahoga County

Actions

NOPEC customers report dramatic increase in electricity bills, automatic opt-in to aggregate program

Posted at 10:33 AM, Sep 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 19:09:30-04

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio  — If your electric bills have been sky-high lately, you're not alone.

The energy aggregator NOPEC serves around 240 communities across the state, with the goal to buy in bulk and save customers money.

But when Danielle Negrelli logged onto her computer to pay her electric bill, something caught her eye.

"You get your bill and you pay it and then all of the sudden, bam, there’s like this higher bill which I expected over the summer but I didn’t expect it to be as high as it was,” Negrelli said.

NOPEC charged her nearly double what her bill usually is.

The power company said it sent out notices to consumers informing them they'd be automatically opting into an aggregate program but could opt out of it if they contacted the company.

"I’m not looking at every single piece of paper that looks like it's meaningless, so that part might be on me that I missed it, but the fact that it's an opt-out program and not an opt-in might be very confusing for consumers," Negrelli said.

Instead of bills being lowered, consumers are reporting that they are much higher.

A NOPEC spokesperson blamed the drastic increase on an inflation spike but said consumers who did not opt-out ahead of time are still responsible for the bill even if they opt out later.

"I think now we have to go a little bit further and hold NOPEC accountable for the change in rates but making sure that NOPEC explains itself to the satisfaction of our community," Negrelli said.

Cleveland Heights Mayor Khalil Seren is among several local leaders making his residents aware of this issue.

"I've gotten some communications from residents, mainly in-person communications as I’m out and about in the community. People talk with me, we talk about this dramatic increase," Seren said.

Negrelli said she's opted out of the program but in the future, she hopes the company will communicate better.

“I think back to how long have I been in this program and paying this additional fee where I've had no real knowledge on what it is," Negrelli said.

RELATED: Amid rising energy costs, Ohio aggregator dumps its 550,000 electric customers