First Energy

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Rating: 1/51
NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OHIO -- This past September I received an electric bill for $630 for one month of electric service. I have all new appliances, my furnace serviced every year and done the month before, and an electric meter from 1974 when the house was built.

Ohio Ed from Elyria office DID come out and determined that this bill was a computer error, probably due to surging from the street into the house. During this time, I lost my newer hot water tank, my treadmill, and a rather expensive pendant light. These things seemed odd, but I just went ahead and replaced/repaired them as usual. I advocated for a new meter and Ohio Ed complied. When I contacted Ohio Ed in Akron about the exorbitant bill for Sept, they denied any refund but offered to put it on payments. They also sent me a letter stating my old meter was 99.9% correct. So why have my bills dropped by 2/3 since then?

The PUCO could not get Ohio Ed to credit my account for anything. I am still paying off a balance from September with late charges every month since then. This company has the PUCO in its back pocket and I feel I was truly scammed. All future bills are based on this incorrect information, and no one seems to want to do anything about this. I just keep paying or Ohio Ed threatens to turn off my service. I am filing a formal complaint again with the PUCO on my own behalf. I feel that Ohio Ed is corrupt with its billing practices and do not listen to consumers OR the PUCO. A one person household couldn't use as much energy as they claim I did. Even local Ohio Ed said so. So why can I not get some kind of refund or credit? I guess 'just say 'no'' DOES work. For Ohio Edison. Not me.
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At Your Service on 01/13/2013:
Sounds frustrating. Physically checking the meter is the one way of confirming a problem, but the fact that they returned with a 99.9% reading insinuates the bill is legitimate.

Is there a way someone skimmed off your power for a month? I've heard of it happening, but not seen a specific case of it being done.
Patriot Barnes on 08/23/2013:
THis company demands a deposit - no other electric company does this that I have worked with and furthermore they try to say it is because of credit or your payment history with this company but that is false. I had an account with them for 2 years paid on times except for maybe twice and have better credit now than when I first started with them. Then they transfer you to something called connections to check and make sure everything is correct and try to sell you other service with the lowest price. Caught them in a lie there too because I had already check on cable in the area and could get it lower than what they were offering. Horrible electric company wish I had other options for my area.
starrynight on 05/05/2014:
We are also having a problem with Ohio Edison (First Energy)
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Clevelanders FORCED To Purchase 2 Over Priced High-Efficiency Light Bulbs!
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Low energy bulbFirstEnergy to give away 3.75 million low-energy light bulbs (By John Funk, The Plain Dealer 10/05/09

FirstEnergy Corp. is getting ready to leave two high-efficiency light bulbs on your doorstep. But they're not a gift.

The utility will charge average users 60 cents a month extra on their electric bills for the next three years -- $21.60 all together. That covers the cost of the bulbs ($3.50 each), their delivery and the delivery of the power consumers would have used if they didn't have them.

The good news: These compact fluorescent bulbs will reduce your electricity use. If you replace two 100-watt incandescent bulbs with these 23-watt, warm-white CFLs, you'll save $60 by the time they burn out in five to seven years, according to FirstEnergy.

And you'll pay for the bulbs whether you use them or not, so it makes sense to use them.

FirstEnergy is distributing the 3.75 million bulbs to comply in part with an energy law enacted in Ohio last year. The law requires utilities to cut their customers' energy use by 22 percent by 2025. The law also mandates that utilities use solar, wind turbines and other renewable energy sources. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved the light bulb distribution and the extra charge on your bill.

"Energy efficiency enhancements have up-front costs that are paid back over time through savings on your energy bills," FirstEnergy spokeswoman Ellen Raines said Monday. "The savings far outweigh the cost of the program. And we hope customers who have not used CFL bulbs will like them.

But the company -- and therefore you -- are paying too much for the bulbs, said Ohio Consumers' Counsel Janine Migden-Ostrander. A five-pack of similar bulbs costs $13.99 from Ace Hardware's Web site.

FirstEnergy bought Chinese-made bulbs from three distributors including TCP Inc. of Aurora, because it couldn't find any made in the United States. A California company will deliver 3 million of them door-to-door to Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison customers. The rest will be mailed.

Passing out the bulbs is not the way to persuade people to use them, Migden-Ostrander said. The company should have given its customers discount coupons and let them shop for the best deal, she said.

The company's lawyers resisted that, arguing that FirstEnergy had to begin cutting back power deliveries right away to meet the terms of the new law.

During debates in the Ohio House and Senate, discussion about wind turbines and solar fields got more attention than energy efficiency - but they're part of the same argument: that the nation can't go on using energy as if it were inexhaustible.

State lawmakers were convinced that Congress would push efficiency mandates and lower emissions from coal-fired power plants.

That law, now headed for debates in the U.S. Senate, could force the closing of the dirtiest, oldest and smallest power plants, Migden-Ostrander said.

The choice utilities and society have is whether to spend billions of dollars on new power plants or try to reduce demand and use less electricity.

FirstEnergy also plans by the end of the year to unveil an on-line home energy audit program. It will allow you to find out - at no charge - how inefficient your electricity use is and what to do about it.

If you don't own a computer, the company will do it for you over the phone, according to information FirstEnergy filed with the PUCO.

It will be "free," just like the bulbs are free.

***************** WOOOO HOOOO! BASHER'S 100TH REVIEW ****************
Resolution Update 10/07/2009:
With all the complaints to First Energy Of Ohio, they have suspended the project.
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DebtorBasher on 10/06/2009:
Now we are forced to take these bulbs whether we want them or not. And who uses 100 watt bulbs in their lamps anyway? They said it doesn't matter if we actually USE them or not, we are still going to be charged for them!

Don't know if I'll be getting them, since I'm NOT a Cleveland resident...but I do use First Energy.

DebtorBasher on 10/06/2009:
WWSD? What would Stewie Do?
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
Nothing, he wouldn't be living in that "armpit" anyway! *burn*
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
I've never had a CFL last 5 - 7 years.

DebtorBasher on 10/06/2009:
And to think, I miss ZZ when he's gone!
Mrs. V on 10/06/2009:
They never last that long for me.

And Congrats on #100 ^_^
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
mm & mrs v--I have to agree. I've had the same experience.

db, our utility gave them out a couple of years ago, for free, to encourage people to try them. Quite a scam they have going in Ohio. It sounds like a good money making venture for them since they probably received the bulbs for next to nothing.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
KIA, no matter fhow much they paid for them, they still have to pay to deliver them, whether by truck or mail.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
But why force them on people? I think most Ohioans would be willing to forfeit the freebie if it would cancel out the 60 cents each month on their bill. Oh wait! It's not so free after all!
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
lady, $21.60 is a ridiculous price to pay for 2 light bulbs that you didn't even order. If they aren't making a profit, though, then someone didn't have their economic thinking cap on (which is possible since its a utility). They could have sent their customer's coupons if they truly cared about saving energy. Then if the consumer wanted to use it, they could. Our utility company did this and didn't charge us a dime. It was to raise awareness, not to make money. The fact that they are also trying to recoup the saved energy costs by their customers is another slap in the face. Why did they even bother?
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
Kia, I agree. However, since I own a business I think like a business owner in that I am in it to make money, not lose it. The new law says companies must conserve energy.

OK, they are sending out new bulbs that they are paying for. They are going to lose revenue with the lower bills, so in turn they are going to bill the consumer the cost of the bulbs, the delivery of the bulbs, the cost of labor for the employees that have to deliver, etc.

When I was an Ebay seller, and now with my candle business, my buyers paid for all my costs. I charge a handling charge for shipped orders in addition to postage, I charge for packing supplies, my gas, my time, even my morning coffee. My rates are still reasonable.

$21 to save $60? Give me $21 and I will give you $ don't think that is a good deal?
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
lady, that's only if the people actually use the bulbs.

The difference between you charging for packing supplies, etc., is that someone ordered something. These people are being charged for something some of them may never even use.

Since you like to talk economics and about your good business sense, let's say these customers go to their local Walmart, Target, etc. with their coupon from the energy company or even on their own without the coupon. They buy the bulbs for $3 and still save on their energy bill. The consumer would come out way ahead. There is no deal whatsoever to the consumer in this instance.

And, regarding the company saving energy, if they used trucks to deliver the many bulbs, there was another waste of resources that they wouldn't have had to pay for if they had just simply mailed coupons or even just sent a helpful informational letter about the bulbs. It's funny to me that people all over the country haven't been using these bulbs for years now. I know I have. Probably many of these people have too.
Eloise on 10/06/2009:
Lady, I'm in complete agreement. You're actually saving money in the long run. I think they are hoping that once you try the bulbs you will realize how much money you can save. Not to mention the bulbs give off a great light.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
The thing is, these bulbs are terrible. You can't read by one, so you are going to turn on two. Now you're using more electricity than before. Beyond that, if you should break one, you can't just sweep it up, you need to call in a hazmat team to decontaminate. I will buy enough incandescent bulbs to last me the rest of my life.

I think I am not alone in this, I see them being sold by the case now at the local HD, and BJs.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
Incandescent it shall be here in my house.

Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
Right, Ken. I have a lamp near my seat in the living room, that I like to sit and work puzzles, knit, or do embroidery.

I honestly thought I had problems with my sight and needed a new checkup. It was that dang CFL bulb.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
I agree with Ken. I recently put those new fangled bulbs in my master bath. Within two days, I removed them. They cause odd lighting and made my makeup look fine until I got to work and looked in the mirror! They also seemed to make my strain to read a book while in the tub.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
No kidding Raven! I think I'd be better off working from candlelight.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
They are quick to remind you that you cannot throw them in the trash when they die. Where do they think these tens of thousands of bulbs are going to go?
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
*GIGGLE* at MissMarple and Ken.
old fart on 10/06/2009:
The first one of these bulbs I used lasted the total of 5, count 'em, five months... big whoopdee$h*t...!
clutzycook on 10/06/2009:
It depends on where you use them and how often you use them. I have 2 CFL bulbs in the lights on the stairs to my basement. I think I've changed each one at least once since I started using them 3 years ago (We pretty much live in our basement). But, I have the same CFL bulbs in my lights upstairs and they have yet to be changed.
old fart on 10/06/2009:
Mine was used over the sink and we never turn that bulb on unless we are doing dishes in the evening.. other than that it was turned off....I doubt if we used the thing more than 200 hours...
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
It has been pointed out to me that I should explain that BJs does not refer to a good date, it is a warehouse store chain, big in New England.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
Ken, I wasn't worried about it.

I was more worried that HD stood for "Hey! Dammit."
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
I can't use a bulb I can't see by now.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
*falls over laughing at ken*
clutzycook on 10/06/2009:
The CFLs do require a little warm-up time, but after a minute or so, they are just a bright as their incandescent counterparts. Personally, I like the fact that my CFLs in the bathroom start out dim, especially in the morning. Nothing worse to wake up to than a bright shot to your corneas.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009: mean I explained away the wrong chain?
DebtorBasher on 10/06/2009:
They were probably stuck with these useless bulbs and they don't know how to dispose of, they're going to send them out to their customers to get rid of. It's not a case of give us $21.00 and we'll give you $60.00, because they are going to charge the $21.00 even if people doesn't use, it's more like, Give us $21.00 whether you like it or not.
DebtorBasher on 10/06/2009:
I like my 3 ways on each side of my couch.
DebtorBasher on 10/06/2009:
I should explain that 3 ways does not refer to a good date, it is a light bulb that has three different watts.
Anonymous on 10/06/2009:
Thanks for the info, DB. I live in Akron, so it won't be long before they do the same to us. It should be a choice to buy those bulbs, but like everything else, the expense gets passed along to the little guy.
Ytropious on 10/06/2009:
Me too sherdy, I hope they don't mandate the same thing, I'll gladly use CFLs of my own accord, don't need them left on my doorstep.
Anonymous on 10/07/2009:
You know they will. Go green, right? Unfortunately, the 'green' means money for them from us.
Alain on 10/07/2009:
I'd prefer to make it my choice as to which bulbs I use. I get along with CFLs in some places in the house, but it's still my decision where I use them and where I buy them.
Anonymous on 10/07/2009:
Hmmmm.... I am in central Ohio and this mess hasn't come my way yet. I will wander around AEP's website and see if they intend to force this down my throat.
Anonymous on 10/07/2009:
Ken there you again with you alarmist talk ~~ "if you should break one, you can't just sweep it up, you need to call in a hazmat team to decontaminate"

Au contraire Mr. Popcorn. Here are the ten easy steps for CFL cleanup on a *HARD* surface.

1. Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.

2. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.

3. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

4. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.

5. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass pieces and powder.

6. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.

7. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

8. Immediately place all clean-up materials outdoors in a trash container or protected area for the next normal trash pickup.

9. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing clean-up materials.

10. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require that broken and unbroken mercury-containing bulbs be taken to a local recycling center.

Now, If the CFL cleanup area is carpet, furniture or bedding then it's probably best to just move.

Now seriously Ken don't you owe an amends to CFL manufacturers of America?
grandma005 on 10/07/2009:
Stew-Very helpful information I made a copy of this for my records.
CrazyRedHead on 10/07/2009:
There was a news edition on TV stating that CFL's don't do what they say. There is really no difference in using then against regular bulbs. I have a light bulb over the sink that I has been there since I moved in here and that was over 10 years ago, then I don't use it very often, and it is a regular bulb.
Anonymous on 10/07/2009:
Grandma005, Here's the link to the Fact Sheet.
DebtorBasher on 10/07/2009:
But still...WWSD?
Anonymous on 10/07/2009:
Well Basher you got three choices. Go without electricity, get a generator or pay the sixty cents a month.

Hey I like CFL bulbs. I've been using them for over five years. I've yet to see one go out. And as far as the mercury goes well the thermometer me mum shoved up me bum had over 100 times the mercury of a CFL bulb. And much like me mum with her thermometer all the b*tching and complaining ain't going to change a thing because no matter what you're going to end up bending over and taking it up the rear.
DebtorBasher on 10/07/2009:
UPDATE 10/07/09:
AKRON -- Northeast Ohio lawmakers were quick to question and criticize First Energy's plan to mail two compact fluorescent light bulbs to their residential customers, then recoup the charges for the bulbs and mailing by adding charges to the customers' monthly bills.

Residential customers of First Energy Corp.'s Ohio utility operating companies -- Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison -- are included in the plan.

State Sen. Tim Grendell, R-18, said, "It is unconscionable that the (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio) approved this plan of First Energy to exploit its customers by making them buy light bulbs they don't even want, at prices that aren't even competitive."

Grendell said he wonders how the company can "claim that it is making no money from it when it claims itself that the cost of the program will be $0.60 per month per customer for three years for a total of $21.60, yet it also claims that the two light bulbs they are providing customers cost $3.50 a piece (including distribution cost) for a total of $7. This is a $14.60 discrepancy."

"First Energy implies that this is a state-mandated program via Senate Bill 221 of the 127th General Assembly, but this was never the intent of the General Assembly. I am very disappointed that PUCO approved this," he added.

Grendell added, "The PUCO is responsible for approving a utility company's actions under S.B. 221. The PUCO's approval of this ridiculous plan by First Energy is irresponsible."

If there is an issue with S.B. 221, Grendell said he will be introducing legislation to rectify this loophole and prevent similar future actions by utility companies.

On Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) was the first to call for a review of First Energy's plan to make its customers pay "for energy they don't use," Kucinich said, in a statement.

Also at issue is First Energy's plan to charge a fee for the energy that was not used by the consumer because they installed the light bulbs, Kucinich said.

"When families do the right thing and reduce their energy use, they should get all the savings. They shouldn't have to give it back to First Energy to prop up their profits," said Kucinich.

© 2009 WKYC-TV

Anonymous on 10/07/2009:
Boy, db, I must be a mind reader, lol. Glad to see that I'm not alone in my thoughts. Thanks for the update.
DebtorBasher on 10/08/2009:
FORGET THE RESOLVED: First Energy is NOT backing down. They said they'd 'take a look' at the issue but will NOT suspend the project and as of this coming Monday, will be sending the light bulbs out to everyone. I say...Scratch off your address and mark 'return to sender'...and make them pay for the return postage....yeah, we'll still get billed for the stupid things, but they will have to pay for the return postage on them all....I think.
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