Starting Electricity Service in Ohio

Whether you are setting up your first home or moving to the state, starting your electricity service in Ohio is a simple task. However, under the Ohio Energy Choice scheme, you do have the right to shop around for the best prices so it pays to start looking into the process as soon as you know your moving date to ensure you get the best deal.

Getting started

In order to get electricity to your property, you need to contact the local utility. You can get information about who this is from your landlord, seller or realtor so you can get in touch with them to arrange the service. They will need the address of the property and your phone number as well as some credit history information.

When you talk to them, ask about when your service will start and also when your first bill will arrive. Utilities are due to start service within three days of you contacting them or within 10 business days if the property is a new build. Should it take longer, they will need to inform you at the outset.

Credit checks

One of the compulsory parts of dealing with Ohio electricity suppliers is that they will need to check your credit worthiness before setting up an account. To do this, they will check you need one of the following criteria:

  • Have a prior account within the last two years with no more than two late payments or with no previous service disconnected within the last twelve months
  • Be a credit-worthy property owner
  • Have a guarantor who is a customer with the utility company and can pay your bills within 60 days if you fail to do so

If you don't meet the criteria, the company may ask for a deposit to establish the account which can't be more than the average 30-day bill plus 30%. If you do pay a deposit, the company should provide a receipt detailing your information, the amount paid, any interest that will be paid if held for more than six months, the length of deposit required and any conditions for refunding it.

How your bill is measured

Normally, meters are used to keep track of how much electricity you use and therefore to measure what your bill will be in terms of cost. There are varying Ohio Electricity Rates available that you will see when shopping around, although it may be tricky to get an accurate estimate in your first year. Companies are only required to take a meter reading every 12 months but it can be advisable to do it more often to avoid estimated bills.

Smart meters are also being offered as part of the modernization program that allows the automatic sending of power usage to utility companies. These are aimed at avoiding estimated bills and giving people the most accurate picture of the power they use. You will be notified ahead of time if you are due to have one installed and you can opt-out of the scheme.