AEP Energy was established in 2002 and is a certified retail electricity and natural gas supplier that operates in six different states as well as Washington, D.C. They are America's Energy Partner℠ and supply electricity and natural gas to approximately 430,000 residential and business customers. They are based out of both Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois. "AEP Energy is committed to excellence by serving customers with value, innovation and many years of industry experience." They are also a subsidiary of American Electric Power (AEP), a Fortune 200 Company.
- Cancellation Fee
- Late Payment Fee
AEP Energy has some good standout features customers will see as beneficial. The first thing is that they do not have a cancellation fee if you want to get out of your contract. This is a huge perk because most others will not match this same offer. Termination fees can be upwards of $250 sometimes so it can definitely save customers some money. AEP Energy's minimum of a 12-month contract doesn't need to be as worrisome because of the no cancellation fee. Customers can easily get out of their contract with a $0 charge.
Late Payment Fee
Another common fee you will see among deregulated energy companies is that they have a late payment fee which is taken against a 12-month contract. AEP charges customer 1.5% of the contract which is nothing compared to the usual 5% several other companies charge. Of course, this won't need to be an issue if you are good about making on-time payments or have automatic withdrawals set up. But in the case that something happens, 1.5% on a year-long contract is pretty minuscule. We commend AEP Energy for applying lower charges when it comes to extra fees such as these.
- Undisclosed Information
- Electricity Fixed Rates
- Contract Terms
- Payment Options
One of the most frustrating things that a potential customer will run into is when the most important information can't be found on a company website. Unfortunately, consumers will run into this problem multiple times when researching AEP Energy. We weren't able to find variable prices for natural gas and electricity as well as a fixed price for natural gas. Also, there are no mentions of minimum usage fees, monthly service charges and a deposit which are all common fees found amongst other deregulated energy companies. These are all types of information someone will want to see before considering the company they will want to sign up with. This is a huge issue if the information isn't available online. This simply means a customer will have to make an extra effort, such as calling in, to get the information they will need.
Electricity Fixed Rates
The electricity fixed rate is the only price we could find when looking at AEP Energy. They charge $0.131/kWh and when comparing this to others who offer electricity at a fixed rate, it is far more expensive than their other competition. Because AEP Energy covers a variety of other states, consumers can look to other companies and get literally half of the prices AEP Energy offers. If this is the only price that is publically available, I'm not sure we can be confident that their other prices will be much better.
As mentioned above, AEP Energy's shortest contract length is only 12 months. Many people don't like longer contracts because they typically can't get out of it without paying a fee. However, with AEP, this isn't a completely bad scenario. They do not charge a cancellation fee which means that a customer could get out of a contract without paying anything. On the other end of the spectrum, their maximum length contract is 24 months. Usually, when a customer chooses a longer contract it's because they know they'll want to use the service for a longer period of time which will lock in a lower rate. Unfortunately, since AEP Energy's only price available is a relatively high in comparison, this might not be a very good choice either.
Finally, we look at how many options are available for customers to pay, specifically four different ones. AEP currently does not offer ways to pay through ACH forms, commonly known as electronic checks, and credit or debit cards. We see a huge issue with this as credit and debit cards are the most popular forms of payment for customers today. This only leaves ways of paying directly through a bank account or handwritten checks to pay for their bill. For customers who seriously consider AEP Energy, we suggest making sure that these two options of payments work for you before signing up as they are not as common uses.