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CLEVELAND (WJW) – City Councilman Brian Kazy says Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb’s administration dropped the ball, and as a result, thousands of constituents could be faced with significantly higher electric bills this summer.

Kazy, who represents Ward 16 on the city’s west side, says in the past, the city would buy its energy in bulk in order to get the best rates for residents, small business owners and city-owned facilities.

However, last year, he says the city chose to end their relationship with one of the largest aggregators or suppliers, NOPEC, then missed a deadline to find a new supplier.

So, current FirstEnergy customers who do not have a third-party supplier would have no other choice but to pay skyrocketing rates.

“They knew that this was coming last year, they knew they didn’t have an aggregator come Jan. 1, 2023 because they wanted us to opt out of the contract. So, what have they been waiting on? I don’t know why they’ve waited,” Kazy said.

Here’s an example of what residents and business owners can expect.

The standard FirstEnergy price will jump from roughly 6-cents per kilowatt hour in May to 12.4 cents in June. A single electric bill that was an average of $45 can go up to $95 or even higher.

“It’s the council who’s picking up the bulk of the phone calls and we’re the ones who are trying to explain it to our residents and our customers, our non-CPP customers, just to try to be patient,” Kazy said.

Council members are still working with Mayor Bibb’s administration to try to get this rectified sooner than later.

Monday night, council introduced legislation that could bring relief to residents by August.

The ordinance authorizes the city to take part in the Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council electric aggregation program. It would serve residential and small commercial customers for a period of one year starting with the August 2023 meter read cycle.

City officials released the following statement earlier:

We regret that the administration was not able to issue a community choice electricity aggregation program RFP earlier this year.   

However, we have been successful in selecting a competitively priced program and look forward to working with city council members during the next few weeks to ensure residents have that program in place by August.

We strongly believe the administration’s selected program, with approval from Council, will provide longer-term cost savings with a stable product that accommodates all eligible FirstEnergy customers and small businesses with competitively priced options.