Not watt businesses want

Erie County Chamber of Commerce offering help for its members
Melissa Topey
Apr 20, 2014


A non- organization dedicated to helping small business is projecting electric rates to skyrocket over the next couple years.

FirstEnergy acknowledged Friday increases are on the way but offered no predictions on how big rate hikes will be.

The Council of Smaller Enterprise is predicting a steep increase of 35 percent in electric rates over the next three years. The increases will come as a result of FirstEnergy closing its coal plants and converting to natural gas plants, said Randy Carpenter, spokesman for the agency.

And the demand for electricity is projected to only increase, creating other pressures pushing higher costs, he said.

There will be an increase in Northeast Ohio, said Diane Francis, First Energy spokeswoman. But what that increase will be is dependent on a lot of factors, especially the PJM Interconnection, Francis said. There is no way to know what percent the increase will be, she said.

PJM Interconnection is a powerful network that coordinates the movement of electricity to the market in 13 states, including Ohio, and ensures the regional grid has enough electricity to power the needs of its consumers. It is this capacity charge that the Council of Smaller Enterprises contends will be responsible for the upcoming spike in electric prices.

Representatives from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, a state agency that regulates utilities such as FirstEnergy and others, did not return phone calls Friday.

Meanwhile, the Erie County Chamber of Commerce is helping its business members get the cheapest electricity rates possible.

Chamber members can apply to be part of a co-op — the Council of Smaller Enterprises, known as COSE — a large nonprofit organization made of thousands of businesses that support small businesses by offering group rates on health insurance that might otherwise not be able available to the businesses.

COSE has a lot of influence to advocate for small business, said John Moldovan, president of Erie County Chamber of Commerce.

The group will negotiate with FirstEnergy for the best electric rates possible and lock them in for three years, Carpenter said.

Businesses are especially affected by increases to electricity rates because they are, on average, larger than a residential home, have more open space and operate longer hours each day. The impact increased electric rates could have on member businesses is a concern for local chambers, Moldovan said.

“Like with health insurance we offer, we want to help our members get the best (electric) rates possible” Moldovan said.

Any small business that is a chamber member can go to for information.

How to read your electric bill

•The transmission cost:

What you pay to have electricity delivered to your home or business. This is a fixed rate based on use.

•The generation cost:

What you pay for the electricity you actually use. This is a line item that can be negotiated by shopping around for the best rate.

•The capacity charge:

What pays for the operation of the PJM. PJM ensures the regional grid has enough electricity to power the needs of its consumers. It is this capacity charge the Council of Smaller Enterprises will be responsible for with the upcoming spike in electric prices.

Source: Council of Smaller Enterprises


2cents's picture

So even using precipitators on the coal stacks of power plants is not enough? We mine the coal from the ground and transport it by rail to a coast so it can be shipped to China, one of the most polluted countries in the world, so they can burn it to make their electricity on the cheap so US manufacturers can't compete and our jobs are lost to the east that is burning this coal and polluting the air, creating acid rain that people in Oregon are complaining about. All of us U.S. small businesses and consumers pick up the tab because there is not enough electricity to go around. I get it, we need to have super tough environmental controls so our air does not pollute the United Kingdom. While we allow these great United States come to our knees because the current administration has an agenda, I guess it is to destroy the country my ancestors help build when they came here in 1635. Thank you jack-----!


You can thank the Obama admin for this

2cents's picture

Sorry, I can not thank the current administration for anything other than bringing Chicago land style governing into DC. You may have heard the saying it is more who you know than what you know, well, these people have gone above and beyond what we have ever seen in the history of this country from what I have seen. They make everything look so pleasing, I sometimes wonder if the Hail Bop comment were to come around again how many would commit suicide if these people said it was the thing we need to do?????


Thanks, Obama, for making sure "energy rates will necessarily skyrocket." And to all of you idiots who voted for him: At least he's keeping ONE promise! Go ahead and brag about THIS one!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Where's cap and trade when we need it, eh? But it's funny when you hear him make speeches like one last week bemoaning the lack of industry and manufacturing meanwhile other agencies under him are making it very cost prohibitive (if not impossible) to do so. Which is it going to be? Every factory doesn't need to dump toxic waste into the local stream, but all I see are two opposing forces coming out of the same office.

We also hear how he laments technology as not helping unemployment figures yet funds "hubs" and other tech centers to continue its advancement. Which is it? Or does it depend on who's giving and getting the necessary checks? I don't look for perfection out of him or anyone else, but I would appreciate a drop in the conflicting notions and actions put forward.