The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) reminds consumers that in addition to energy conservation and energy choice, budget billing is another way to manage your utility bills.
How does budget billing work?
Budget billing is a program offered by Ohio's regulated electric and natural gas distribution companies that spreads out the cost of energy used during high-demand times of the year. Instead of seeing an increase in winter heating bills or summer cooling bills, budget billing breaks down total yearly usage into manageable monthly bills. The utility companies calculate your budget amount based on your usage history and expected energy prices. At the end of the budget period, the company will "true-up" that amount so that what you pay matches what you actually used.
What happens if energy prices change or I use more energy than expected?
During the budget period, your utility company may review your budget amount, usage and energy prices. The utility company may make adjustments to your budget amount so that your budget amount more accurately reflects your usage and energy prices. At the end of the budget year, when you receive your true-up amount, any over or under collection will be calculated at that time.
How do I sign up for budget billing?
Contact your natural gas or electric utility company. They can provide you with specific information. Each utility company may have different budget periods and budget plans available. Be sure to ask when the budget period begins and when adjustments to your budget amount can be made.
Since budget periods usually begin in August, the later in the year you sign up, the higher your budget amount will be.
What if I signed up with a competitive retail electric or natural gas supplier?
Suppliers are not required to offer budget billing, however, some suppliers do. Contact your supplier to learn more. If you are considering enrolling with a competitive supplier, ask that supplier if they offer budget billing.
For more information on budget billing and utility-related matters, call (800) 686-PUCO (7826) or visit www.PUCO.ohio.gov.