For Immediate Release
Contact: Jason Gilham
614 | 466 7750
COLUMBUS, OHIO (Jan. 9, 2013) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today adopted a stipulation that will allow Dominion East Ohio to eliminate its standard choice offer (SCO) for choice-eligible nonresidential customers beginning on April 1, 2013.
“Today’s order moves Ohio towards a more open and competitive market where consumers will be the beneficiaries of utilities becoming more efficient in providing their services and affording customers a larger variety of product options from which to choose,” said PUCO Chairman Todd A. Snitchler. “The Commission wishes to make clear that nothing precludes this Commission from reestablishing Dominion’s SCO or other pricing mechanisms, if we determine that the company’s exit from the merchant function is unjust or unreasonable.”
Under the terms of the stipulation adopted today by the Commission, effective April 1, 2013, a choice-eligible nonresidential customer who has not selected a natural gas supplier will be served by the next available supplier on a rotating list of providers registered to provide default service maintained by Dominion to be served at that supplier’s monthly variable rate (MVR), subject to the current limitations on the MVR contained in Dominion’s tariff. Currently, close to 95 percent of Dominion’s nonresidential customers are shopping for their natural gas needs.
Choice-eligible 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 the standard service offer (SSO) for at least 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 customers have not chosen a new supplier, they will be assigned to a supplier at its MVR and be immediately free to shop for their natural gas needs without any termination fee.
The order also states that Dominion cannot file a request to exit the merchant function for residential customers prior to April 1, 2015.
To protect consumers, the Commission also established that Dominion conduct a comprehensive customer education program directed at all eligible nonresidential customers to help them make fully-informed decisions about their natural gas supply.
“We are requiring Dominion to increase their level of customer education, as the PUCO has, in order to best assist nonresidential consumers in making an informed decision when selecting a natural gas supplier that best meets their needs,’” added Snitchler.
A copy of today’s Commission order is available at www.PUCO.ohio.gov. Click on the link to the Docketing Information System and enter the case number 12-1842-GA-EXM.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business, and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe, and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.
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