Dominion East Ohio Nonresidential Natural Gas Rates
Beginning in April 2013, Dominion East Ohio has changed the way it provides natural gas for choice-eligible nonresidential customers by eliminating its standard choice offer (SCO).
History of natural gas competition
The Ohio General Assembly passed the Natural Gas Alternative Regulation law in June 1996, which set customer choice as a state goal in the area of natural gas services. In March 1997, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) adopted rules to implement this alternative regulation legislation, and as a result, Dominion began running its natural gas choice program later that year.
In 2006, the PUCO approved an agreement allowing Dominion to run a pilot program to test alternative market-based pricing of natural gas sales. Default retail customers were supplied by competitive natural gas suppliers at market rates based upon PUCO-approved auctions.
In 2008, under the standard choice offer, default customers were automatically assigned a supplier and charged market-based rates.
In January 2013, the PUCO approved an agreement to allow Dominion to end SCO pricing for nonshopping nonresidential customers. The PUCO found Ohio’s nonresidential customers will benefit from an enhanced competitive marketplace by additional suppliers entering the marketplace with more varied product offerings, allowing customers more options to control their natural gas needs.
What has changed?
A nonresidential customer who has not selected a natural gas supplier will be served by the next available supplier on a rotating list maintained by Dominion to be served at that supplier’s monthly variable rate (MVR).
New nonresidential customers establishing service with Dominion for the first time, relocating within the utility’s service territory and whose energy choice or governmental aggregation agreement is not portable, or restoring service more than 10 days after being disconnected for nonpayment will receive at least the standard service offer (SSO) for one billing cycle, after which they may enroll with a supplier or participate in an opt-out governmental aggregation program. If after their second billing cycle under the SSO these new customers have not chosen a new supplier, they will be assigned the next available supplier on a rotating list maintained by Dominion to be served at that supplier’s MVR and immediately be free to shop for their natural gas needs without any termination fee.
Dominion will also enhance customer education programs related to the change, and reach out to small business and small business associations throughout its service territory prior to the transition taking effect.
Does this affect Dominion East Ohio’s residential customers?
No, residential customers are not affected at this time. Part of the agreement approved by the PUCO states Dominion must wait until April 2015 to apply for PUCO approval to extend this pricing structure to residential customers.
Does this affect natural gas distribution rates?
No, all customers pay the same distribution rate for the delivery of natural gas supplies to their homes and businesses. Dominion East Ohio continues to deliver natural gas to all customers, offer payment plans, such as budget billing and handle all emergency and customer service calls.
How do I shop for my natural gas?
The PUCO wants consumers to know their rights and options when it comes to natural gas. While the PUCO cannot guarantee that bills will decrease by participating in energy choice, energy choice gives consumers a greater variety of pricing plans and allows the consumer more freedom to determine what the best option for their household or business is. Energy choice is the best of both worlds. Participation not only gives consumers the freedom to work with a supplier and take advantage of unique product offerings but also the peace of mind that they will still receive the same high level of service from the local utility. Those interested in choosing a competitive supplier can visit the PUCO’s website to find a competitive natural gas supplier here.
What if I don’t shop but decide to later?
Customers assigned a supplier at its MVR are immediately free to shop for their natural gas without a termination fee. Suppliers post their MVRs monthly on the PUCO’s Apples to Apples chart.