CLEVELAND — If you haven’t already, you may want to check your mailbox. If you recently got a letter from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC), you’ve most likely been automatically opted into taking on the company as your natural gas provider.
The problem is that a lot of people don’t know.
“This current mailing that we're doing 490,000 people, mostly in Northeast Ohio which is the core of our footprint, received these letters,” said Dave Jankowski, NOPEC Chief of Marketing and Communications. “It's to say you are currently in the aggregation or you're eligible to be in the aggregation and here's your opportunity to call us and say, I... will go shop myself. I don't want to be part of the aggregation.”
The aggregation was made possible because of Ohio law passed 20 years ago.
“It provides the opportunity for people to, you know, again, sort of gather together communities and buy in bulk and pass the savings and benefits of that onto their residents,” Jankowski explained.
As further explained in a press release, “NOPEC is a nonprofit energy aggregator and the default natural gas supplier for many communities in Greater Cleveland where citizens have voted to join together to increase their buying power. In such cases, all residents of a NOPEC community are automatically enrolled as customers unless they choose not to be, which is why every two years people get a letter asking if they want to be excluded."
Jankowski assures current billing through other providers will not be impacted.
“It is a little confusing because you don't get a bill from NOPEC…your bill still comes from your utility,” he said. “We are the supply portion of that bill.”
Yet, the NOPEC team is encouraging residents to research pricing and contracts before making a decision, especially as gas prices rise due to inflation.
“It’s going to be really shocking for people. They're going to be paying probably close to double what they paid last winter,” Jankowski said. “We have a situation in our current mailing where we have fixed our price through March. Right now, that price is for Columbia customers about $0.70 less than the SCO, which is the really the price to compare from your utility and about a buck difference between that for Dominion customers.”
Jankowski continued saying NOPEC positions itself as “the safe choice. We're following the markets so you don't have to and that should give you peace of mind.”
Residents have until Dec. 13 to opt-out of the NOPEC service. You can fill out the form within the letter you received and mail it back using your own postal stamp or fax it to 440-774-4422. Opt-out requests can also be submitted by calling NOPEC’s Customer Care Center at 1-855-667-3201.
For more information, click here.