Need help with paying the electric bill in Ohio? DoNotPay is ready to assist
High electric bills are not uncommon in Ohio. The state ranks 25th in the country when it comes to electricity prices, although the actual use of power is below the national average.
There are many reasons for this discrepancy, but it mostly comes down to unfair legislation that requires Ohio residents to cover various subsidies on behalf of electricity suppliers.
The table below shows average electric bills in some of Ohio’s busiest cities.
|City||Average Electric bill|
Regardless of the provider you chose, the chances are that at least four items on your bill are fees and surcharges that have nothing to do with your power usage.
While the law may not be fair, there are ways to manage your bills, both in terms of usage and the payments. Let’s go through the options and figure out how to cope with high electric bills in Ohio.
Learn how to read your Ohio electric bill
Understanding your bill does not come naturally because of the complicated terminology that means nothing to an average person. One thing is sure—almost half of the amount that you are paying has nothing to do with the power usage.
Surcharges that cover the recovery costs and other expenses of the power company are enormous. Customers even pay for programs that support low-income clients who cannot pay their bills and the development of renewable energy production.
Depending on the provider, these riders will have different names, or be grouped differently on the bill, but rest assured that we are all covering various expenses of our suppliers. Here is an example of how it works with one of the major energy providers in Ohio.
|DUN||Distribution Uncollectible||Paying customers are charged with what unpaying customers owe|
|PUR||PIPP Uncollectible||Shifting the expenses of financing PIPP Plus to paying customers|
|PIR||Phase-In Recovery||Refinancing of debt for power purchase|
The bad news is that you cannot do anything about it because the Ohio law and the Ohio Public Utility Commissions approved all of these surcharges to most utility providers in the Buckeye State.
You can check for errors on your electric bill
Although there were no reports on significant errors on the electric bills from Ohio electric suppliers, you should always check for errors on your bill. Mistakes can happen, and you should examine everything thoroughly, especially if the bill is unusually high. Pay attention to the following:
- Duplicate items
- Services that you don’t use
- Unusual increase in any of the items
- Account number
- Billing period
Make sure to cross-check with the previous months and look for any irregularities. If you notice anything out of the ordinary or something you don’t understand, contact your provider’s customer support and ask for an explanation. You may be able to resolve the situation before it turns into a problem.
What happens if you don’t pay your electric bill
The main issue with not paying your utility bills is that you can get shut off. This is a particularly nasty outcome that involves high reconnection fees and extensive paperwork. You should try to avoid this situation as much as you can.
The electric company will not do this right away. They are obliged to follow a protocol which involves:
- Written warning with all the details regarding your debt
- Shutoff notice with a stated deadline for paying the debt
If you don’t receive any of the above, the company is not allowed to turn off your electricity. All major providers have designated teams that deal with such issues, and it’s unlikely that they will fail to follow the protocol.
The bad news is that they will not turn your power back on until you cover your debt or at least a significant portion of it. You won’t be able to simply change the provider because your credit rating will be bad.
The good news is that they probably won’t sell your debt to a collection agency. Since it is next to impossible to live without electricity, most providers are aware that you will do anything to pay the bill.
Bad ideas for covering your Ohio electric bill
Having your electricity turned off is inconvenient, especially during the winter, but you must not dig yourself deeper into the problem. Here are a couple of things you shouldn’t do because they can make things worse in the long run.
Take a loan to help you cover your electric bill
It is relatively easy to get a loan from a bank or other lender. The quick solution can be a two-edged sword, causing more damage than good because:
- Since you are already in financial hardship, you won’t be able to get a right loan with low-interest rates
- The monthly installment can be even higher than your electric bill
- Your credit score might go even lower
Over time, the loan may bury you even deeper, and you can end up with loads of additional costs. Solving one problem by creating another is never a good idea.
Pay for the electric bill with a credit card
This may be an even worse idea than the loan. Interest rates for credit cards are awful, and you should avoid this solution altogether. Most people are seduced by a 0% interest rate during the introductory period that many issuers offer, but this only works if you are disciplined.
Even if you are, many unpredictable things can happen during the grace period, and once it is over, the rates go sky-high. Similar to bank loans, credit cards are something to avoid if you are financially struggling already.
Good ideas for solving your Ohio electric bill problems
The best advice you can follow when it comes to paying your electricity bills in Ohio is to try to solve the problem directly with the supplier. The electric companies may be after your money, but they still want you as their customer. That is why they will be reasonable in figuring out a solution with you.
Make sure you do the following:
- Always maintain communication with your provider
- Try to negotiate your bill
Communicate with your electricity supplier
No matter how annoyed or displeased with your provider you are, you must never break communication with them. If you realize that you are late with your bills, or that there is something wrong with the statement, the best course of action is to talk directly with a company representative.
What you should never do is avoid their calls or leave their emails unanswered, especially if your debt is piling up. Make sure that you explain the issue and work on the solution together. The provider will always be the best partner in overcoming the problems with unpaid bills.
Negotiate your electric bill
It may come as a surprise, but bills are negotiable. Since the market is highly competitive, the suppliers are fighting for every customer, and you should take advantage of that. There is a couple of things that you can do:
- Ask the provider to break your debt into manageable monthly installments
- Request a discount for high bills
- Switch to a more convenient energy plan that suits your budget better
It is vital to do the research and know what you want, but try to be realistic in your demands. If you agree to a payment plan, make sure that you can meet the monthly payments. Once again, communicate any delays and obstacles to your provider on time.
How can DoNotPay help with electric bills in Ohio?
Dealing with bills involves a lot of paperwork and formal communication, so most people get lost in the red tape. DoNotPay is a free app that helps people all over the U.S. Ohio included, to navigate the administrative labyrinth. We designed the world’s first robot lawyer to assist Americans in dealing with appeals, extension letters, waiver letters, tickets, fines, and other nightmares.
If you have a problem with your electric bill, ask DoNotPay for assistance. The procedure is simple:
- Log on through your web browser
- Choose Corona Relief from the menu
- Select electric bills
- Have a quick chat with our virtual legal advisor regarding your issue and provide some necessary details
- Wait for a prompt response about what’s the best course of action for you
DoNotPay uses AI to replace fancy lawyers that may charge you way more than you owe to any Ohio utility company. Many people give up the fight with big corporations because the procedures seem overwhelming. With DoNotPay, you don’t have to spend hours on research or wait in endless lines.
Use DoNotPay to ask for an extension on the due date for your Ohio electric bill
If you realize that you won’t be able to pay the bill on time, the first logical solution is to ask for an extension. Most Ohio providers will be glad to grant you this relaxation. Make sure you clearly state when you’ll be able to pay.
It may be wise to try to match the due date on your bill with your payday. That way, you don’t have to be late with your payment.
In case you are not too keen on writing, or simply feel that you won’t do it correctly, ask DoNotPay robot lawyer to create the extension letter for you. The process is quick and easy. You should provide the details like dates and email addresses, and we will generate a letter in no time. DoNotPay can even send it for you.
DoNotPay can help with waiving the late fees
Late fees are an annoying expense, and you should not hesitate to ask for a waiver. Here are your options:
- Get a lawyer or a customer rights advisor to represent you
- Contact the company’s customer support team directly
- Make an appointment with a company representative
- Email your request
Sending a waiver letter to your Ohio electricity supplier is the most convenient solution, but a lot of people don’t know how to write one.
If you are not sure how to do it properly, ask DoNotPay for assistance. Our virtual legal team is excellent at writing waiver letters. We can send it on your behalf as well.
Assistance programs to help you with paying electric bills in Ohio
When push comes to shove, there is no shame in applying for one of the energy assistance programs available in Ohio. As we have already mentioned, you have been financing some of them through your electric bill for years.
These programs are designed for low-income customers, and there are many requirements that you must meet to qualify for them. Eligibility depends on the household income, and there is some paperwork involved, but if you are struggling to pay your electric bills, these programs could be an excellent solution. You can try to apply for one of the following:
- Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
- Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus)
- Winter Crisis Program
- Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP)
- Summer Crisis Program
- Ohio Energy Credit
- American Electric Power
Home Energy Assistance Program in Ohio
HEAP is a federal program that helps low-income users with heating costs. To qualify, your income must be less than 175% of the federal poverty guidelines. The Ohio Development Services Agency is the administrator of this program in the Buckeye State. If you are using electricity for heating, you should consider applying for HEAP.
Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus
PIPP Plus helps low-income households pay their electricity bills through affordable monthly installments. The amount is 6% of the gross household income, or $10, whichever is higher. To qualify, the household income must be less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Most major suppliers participate in the program, but smaller companies are not obliged to offer PIPP Plus. It is essential to respect the due dates if you are using this program because failing to meet them can make you ineligible.
Winter Crisis Program
The Winter Crisis Program is a part of HEAP and is administered by community action agencies in Ohio. The program focuses on assisting low-income users in avoiding shutoff during the heating season.
You can apply if you are disconnected or in danger of being shut off. As with HEAP, your income must be below 175% of the national poverty guidelines. Since the Winter Crisis Program helps with heating, the usual deadline for application is in May.
Home Weatherization Assistance Program in Ohio
This program aims to help struggling households make their homes more energy-efficient, which should result in lower and more manageable electricity bills. As a part of this program, you can benefit from:
- Air-leakage reduction
- Repairs or complete replacement of the heating system
If you have already had problems with high electric bills, HWAP can be an excellent solution to try to be energy and cost-effective. Your income must be less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Summer Crisis Program
Also a part of HEAP, the Summer Crisis Program helps low-income customers with cooling during the summer months. The program is designed for elderly Ohioans and people with medical conditions who need cooling assistance for their health.
If you or one of your family members are above 60, and the household income is below 175% of the federal poverty guidelines, you should consider applying for the Summer Crisis Program.
Ohio Energy Credit
This program is available for Ohio residents who are over 65 or have a permanent or total disability. Ohio Energy Credit allows its participants to receive benefits that are greater than those available through HEAP. The beneficiaries of the program can get either a deduction on their bills, usually between 25 to 30%, or direct cash payment. The amount of the cash payment varies from season to season.
American Electric Power
This is a joint financial assistance program by the Dollar Energy Fund and AEP Ohio that helps unemployed or low-income workers to pay their electric bills. The customers that qualify for the American Electric Power receive a grant for their utility bill directly on the AEP statement.
What else can DoNotPay do to help you?
Electric bills are just a tiny drop in the ocean of numerous problems we are facing every day. DoNotPay aims to help you go through the intricate red tape as a winner. So, if a utility company, internet provider, federal agency, or any other big player is giving you a hard time, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from our robot lawyer.
Check some of our features and learn about what we can do to help you with:
- Disputing traffic tickets
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- Making virtual credit cards to avoid being charged after free trial
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- Contesting parking tickets
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- Jumping the phone queue while trying to reach customer support
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