NOPEC Rapidly Replaces FirstEnergy Solutions With NextEra Energy Services Ohio

The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) has approved a three year contract with NextEra Energy Services Ohio, a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources, to supply power to some 500,000 Northeast Ohio residential and commercial customers, according to a November 8 report by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

NOPEC – the largest governmental aggregator nationwide, with over 200 communities in 13 counties – began discussions with new suppliers following FirstEnergy Solutions’ (FES’) decision on October 28 to terminate its contract with the council three years early.

NextEra already is supplying NOPEC-represented customers with natural gas – much of it from Ohio shale gas wells – at a discounted rate, the local news outlet said.

The electric contract, which still must be approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), is set to become effective on January 1– the day after NOPEC’s contract with FES ends.

Under the NextEra contract, consumer prices for the first eight months of 2017 will be fixed at rates that will be roughly 6 percent lower than the regulated price set by The Illuminating Co. and Ohio Edison – two FirstEnergy subsidiaries – NOPEC Executive Director Chuck Keiper told The Plain Dealer.

In other words, consumers represented by NOPEC won’t see a difference between the non-regulated FirstEnergy Solutions rate and the new non-regulated NextEra rate, Keiper explained.

But on June 1, when utility power prices increase to a higher, three-month summer rate, the NOPEC-NextEra price will not go up, making the discount larger than 6 percent discount, he said.

Here are the numbers, according to NOPEC.

The NOPEC-NextEra residential power price for consumers whose electricity is delivered by the Illuminating Co. will be 4.982 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) from January through August. The commercial price will be 5.25 cents/kWh.

The NOPEC-NextEra residential power price for consumers whose electricity is delivered by Ohio Edison will be 4.906 cents/kWh from January through August. The commercial rate will be 5.26 cents per kWh.

The power prices are only part of an electric bill. Delivery charges levied by FirstEnergy and its local delivery companies add roughly another 7 cents for every kWh consumed/kWh. The average U.S. delivered rate was 12.90 cents/kWh.

NextEra is also providing NOPEC with renewable energy certificates, or RECS, equivalent to about half of all the power NOPEC customers will use, said Keiper.

“Because NextEra has so much green content in their [power] mix, we were able to negotiate … a product that contains 50 percent renewable energy credit, so it has been generated by a much cleaner energy source,” Keiper told the newspaper.

Keiper said NextEra was one of about two dozen companies that contacted NOPEC when FirstEnergy Solutions 10 days ago abruptly cancelled the last three years of its nine-year contract, effective December 31. The original contract allowed each side to leave, if it provided a 60-day notice.

In choosing a new supplier, NOPEC stated that among its concerns was the desire to continue holding adequate security for the supply of electricity to NOPEC customersThis was a particular concern amid numerous published news reports raising the possibility of FirstEnergy Solutions filing for bankruptcy.

“Our focus is on our NOPEC customers and getting them an excellent, financially strong electricity supplier and a deal that will allow them to continue to experience the many benefits NOPEC has become known for delivering to our customers,” Keiper said.

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