Bureaucratic pet peeve–selecting Ohio utility energy providers

Posted By on September 30, 2014


Residents and businesses in Ohio “choose” which companies provide the energy used by their utility company, which can in most cases reduce their bills. This competition should be a good thing, one would think, but each year consumers go through a multi-step process to confirm our energy provider choice … and each year it is getting more and more cumbersome and time consuming. In my case, I call for each utility account or bill received and “waste” time making the same selection. This last natural gas selection took 23 minutes to renew with the same company I used in the previous few years.

Here was my 2014 process: 

I opened a computer browser window and navaigated to the Ohio Apples To Apples website in order to compare offers from different energy suppliers after receiving a contract expiring letter (below). ONG_letterThis should be done for both your electric and natural gas energy supplier otherwise by default the energy cost will be high (in my case the current Duke GCR rates are nearly 20% higher).  Once a rate, term and promotion is mentally calculated, the selection process begins. In my case, I’ve been choosing yearly to stick with the same 1 year contracts and same supplier … unfortunately that decision needs to be confirmed each time – BY PHONE (or in the case of this last selection, 6 month term – rate was lower than a 1 year contract). On one bill alone this required a 12 minute phone call to select I wanted to stay with the same supplier … then a  “hold the line” so another person can come on the line to read the company’s legal pages and verify the terms again while recording my “yes” selection. My “verifier” read clear and slow as if I was writing down every phone number in which to cancel within 30-days, another for asking a supplier a question and others. Then finally after requiring a “YES” to all the questions (repeated because I said “CORRECT” instead of “YES”), a 10 digit, plus backslashes, confirmation number was issued.  All in all it took a total of 22 minutes to RENEW the energy supplier with the same company again … and I’m expected to do this with every utility bill.

Hmm… and I thought the federal government held the prize for the procedural bureaucratic waste of time. Come on people… there are better ways … who’s in charge? LINK


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.