There’s good news for customers who purchase their natural gas at a utility’s standard offer.
The latest auction to determine the price for the monthly rate netted the same price as the current year — 60 cents per thousand cubic feet (mcf).
Customers who purchase their gas with the Standard Choice Offer (SCO) rate are assigned a provider by Dominion East Ohio and pay a rate that is based on a state-approved formula to determine the monthly rate.
On Tuesday, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio held the annual auction to determine next year’s “adder” for the state-approved formula.
The SCO rate is determined by using the settlement price on the third to last day of the previous month on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) plus the 60 cents/mcf price.
Five companies were the winning bidders of 13 to be SCO providers. The PUCO keeps the names of the winning bidders confidential for 15 days.
The SCO for bills prepared after Feb. 14 is $3.83/mcf as rates continue to be low with high supply and regional drilling.
The auction was for rates as of April 1 through March 31, 2014.
Ohio Consumers Counsel Bruce Weston, whose agency represents residential utility customers said “once again, the auction has given Dominion’s standard offer customers a great low-price option for natural gas.”
The five winning energy marketers also receive the right to have their names listed on customers’ bills. In April, customers may see a different marketer’s name listed on their bill. However, the standard offer price will be the same, no matter which energy marketer’s name appears on the bill.
Customers already on the SCO will not need to do anything. To switch to the SCO, customers must call Dominion to request it. Consumers are advised to make sure there are not hefty cancellation fees to end an existing contract.
Dominion will continue to be responsible for pipeline repair, meter-reading, billing and other customer service issues.
Recently, the OCC reached a settlement with Dominion and others to preserve residential consumers’ ability to purchase natural gas from Dominion at the standard offer rate until at least April 2016.
The standard offer will be eliminated for nonresidential (business) customers in April of this year.