There’s more good news for natural gas customers who are already enjoying low prices.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on Wednesday approved auction results in which the financial item called an “adder” used in determining the monthly Standard Choice Offer (SCO) prices for the next year fell by 40 percent.
The prices for the SCO and the Standard Service Offer (SSO), which are identical, change each month and are set according to a state-approved formula based on New York Mercantile Exchange settlement prices on the third to last business day of the previous month. Currently, a charge of $1 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) is added to that price. The new adder, effective with April’s bills, will be 60 cents/mcf, based on the latest auction.
“Dominion East Ohio is extremely pleased with today’s auction results,” said Jeff Murphy, Dominion East Ohio managing director of commercial operations. “It’s clear that competition among suppliers is bringing substantial benefits to our customers ...
“We expect market offers ... will become even more competitive as well. Such low pricing is being driven in large part by increasing supplies of natural gas produced in the region from the Marcellus and rapidly developing Utica formations, which are also driving job growth and improving the Ohio economy. All in all, it’s a great result.”
Dominion officials said a typical residential customer who uses 97 mcf a year will save $38.80 a year — a 40 percent drop in the “adder.”
“Dominion’s good news has validated once again that competitive natural gas auctions produce good results that save Ohioans money on their utility bills,” said interim Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston. “Dominion has been at the forefront of these natural gas auctions that have been benefiting consumers across Ohio.”
The cost of natural gas accounts for almost 60 percent of a customer’s monthly bill, the consumers’ counsel said.
The SCO price is the charge for natural gas paid by Dominion customers who have not chosen another provider or do not participate in a governmental aggregation program. For customers who have chosen the SCO or are already on the SCO, the new adder will begin with the April bill and customers will be assigned to one of the three companies who were the winning bidders to provide the SCO.
Those names will not be released by the PUCO for 15 days. The changes will be automatic and customers will not notice much except a different provider’s name on the bill, Dominion spokesman Neil Durbin said.
Also on Wednesday, Dominion said the SCO price for March bills would again fall. The price beginning with bills on March 13 will be $3.45/mcf. That’s a 23 cent/mcf, or a 6.3 percent drop, from the February price of $3.68/mcf. It’s also 30.8 percent lower than the price a year ago of $4.99/mcf.
The average residential customer’s March bill will be $89.07, down $37.10 or 29.4 percent, from $126.17 in March a year ago.
Residential customers pay the same usage-based charges (to deliver gas to a residence) and monthly service fee, regardless of whether they choose their own supplier or stay with Dominion. That flat fee, approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, is $20.37.