Duke Energy raises prices on Cincinnati residents: city memo

CINCINNATI (WXIX) – Electricity rates are going both up and down in Cincinnati.

Some will pay more over the next year; others want to pay less. The difference is a City program that relies on renewable energy credits, reflecting a divide between the cost savings of green sources and the price volatility of fossil fuels.

For those paying more on their monthly bill, the effect is likely to be muted in the first month—or missed altogether. Here’s what you need to know.

Cincinnatians pay more

Duke Energy is raising its prices on Ohioans across the board. The utility giant increased its rates by 16 percent for the year beginning June 1 than it charged in the year that ended May 31.

It’s not just Duke Energy either. Price increases in the coal and natural gas industry have prompted many of Ohio’s investor-owned utilities to “significantly” increase their standard service offers (SSO), according to Cincinnati interim City Manager John Curp.

“Coal and natural gas are the dominant fuels used to produce electricity in Ohio,” Curp said Monday in a memo addressed to Mayor Aftab Pureval and members of City Council.

The SSO price is what customers pay for each kWh they use.

Per Ohio law, utilities must submit competitive bids to set their SSOs for customers in their territories every year, and every year the SSO price is approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Oho for the year beginning June 1.

Duke Energy’s 16 percent increase will lead to an increase of $8.80 per month for the average customer, or $105 per year, according to an estimate from Curp’s office. It’s the smallest rate increase by percentage in the state. See chart below.

That said, June’s bill might suppress a bit of the initial heartburn. Duke Energy’s residential natural gas customers will receive a $133 credit this month as part of a settlement with PUCO.

Customers don’t have to do anything to receive the one-time credit. It will be automatically applied, according to a Duke Energy spokesperson.

Cincinnatians pay less

Some residents will avoid Duke Energy’s 16 percent rate increase thanks to the City’s aggregation program with Dynegy Energy Services, which it started in 2021.

Dynegy provides program participants with 100 percent green energy by purchasing renewable energy credits. Some of those credits were provided by the city’s solar array in Highland County, set to come online later this year.

The aggregation program lets the City offer participants lower rates than Duke Energy. Curp’s office notes the program’s 83,000 current residents saved an average of $15.40 on their bill in 2021.

Participants who signed up as of May 1, 2022 will see their energy bills go down more than 6 percent over the next year for an average savings of $153 per resident and a total savings of $12.7 million across the program.

Changes in electricity rates from investor-owned utilities in Ohio from 2021-2022 to 2022-2023.(Office of the Cincinnati City Manager)

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