COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – If your electric bill has gone up in recent months, it may be because your home is being powered by clean energy.

Some AEP Ohio customers in Columbus have been opted into the Clean Energy Columbus Program, which switches households’ energy sources to clean energy provided by AEP Energy. Although the initial stage of the program sent eligible residents and small businesses opt-out forms, since June 2022, customers have been automatically opted into the program after being notified via mail.

According to the Clean Energy Columbus website, prices are set after meter reads each June. Customers can opt out of the program at any time and can choose to opt in later, according to the program website. But customers who have been automatically enrolled in the program over the past year faced price spikes, as the clean energy rates through June 2023 exceed AEP Ohio’s regular rates. 

For the program’s first year, clean energy cost 5.499 cents per kilowatt hour. From last June to this June, the program cost 7.884 cents per kWh.

According to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s archive of AEP Ohio’s historical prices, the current clean energy program rate is higher than AEP Ohio’s electric rates have been since at least July 2019. With normal electricity costs at a January 2023 measured rate of 6.674 cents per kWh, the clean energy program’s current rate is more than 18% higher.

The Clean Energy Columbus Program started in June 2021 after a Columbus ballot initiative passed to authorize the city to aggregate retail electric loads for residents and small businesses. The city selected AEP Energy, a subsidiary of AEP that sells its produced energy at market-based rates as opposed to regulated rates. The program is powered through “local Ohio-based clean energy generation” initially sourced through Renewable Energy Certificates, according to AEP Energy’s website.

Residents and small businesses using less than 700,000 kWh annually and who are not powered by the city’s Division of Power are eligible for the program. You can check your eligibility here. For more information on the program, including how to opt out, visit the program’s website.