November 8, 2006
CLEVELAND - Dominion East Ohio is introducing a new natural gas rate for customers who have not selected another supplier as part of a pilot program approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).
The new rate is the Standard Service Offer, or SSO. It replaces the Gas Cost Recovery, or GCR, rate.
Two things are the same with the new rate: The SSO rate will change monthly, and Dominion East Ohio will not earn a profit on the gas it sells to customers; the purchase cost is passed dollar for dollar directly to customers.
The company also will continue to deliver natural gas reliably to all customers regardless of which supplier they choose. Dominion East Ohio also will continue to handle emergency and other customer service calls.
The SSO is part of a pilot program approved by the PUCO, and it reflects actual natural gas market conditions based on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). In the past, Dominion East Ohio’s rate was based on market prices, but it also included a gas cost adjustment related to previous rates.
The price of natural gas for customers who buy directly from Dominion East Ohio from Nov. 10 through Dec. 12, 2006, will be $8.593 per thousand cubic feet (MCF). This monthly SSO rate represents an increase from the previous month’s rate of $5.64 per MCF and is largely the result of a seasonal change in the market price of natural gas. The SSO may increase as the winter progresses because of the effect of winter heating demand on national market prices.
In addition to the SSO rate, Dominion East Ohio will continue to charge a monthly service charge and a delivery charge based on the amount of gas used, as it did under the GCR mechanism.
Energy Choice customers considering returning to the SSO must remember the following when making their decision:
- Because it takes 30 days to 60 days to complete a change in suppliers, the current Dominion East Ohio SSO rate will not be in effect when customers who sign up now are billed. A new SSO rate will be in effect at that time.
- The SSO is a variable rate that changes monthly. Only Energy Choice suppliers offer customers the ability to lock in a fixed-price for up to a year or longer.
- Before switching, customers should also check with their current Energy Choice supplier to determine if the cost of any cancellation fee in their individual contract would negate any potential savings from switching back to Dominion East Ohio’s SSO service.
- When comparing Energy Choice offers to the SSO rate, customers should avoid placing too much emphasis on the current month’s SSO rate if they are comparing it to a long-term fixed price offer. Customers should keep in mind that in today’s volatile market prices calculated monthly such as the SSO can and will vary greatly over a year. Monthly bills will vary based on usage, of course, even with a fixed price.
- Energy Choice customers can still enroll in budget billing to levelize payments over the course of a year.
"We want our customers to do what is best for them, no matter who they choose to supply their natural gas," said Jimmy Staton, senior vice president-Gas Delivery. "While Dominion East Ohio’s current rate may be lower than the price offered by others, that may change."
Customers who still buy natural gas from Dominion East Ohio can — and are encouraged to — shop around for other suppliers through the Energy Choice program. They may have the opportunity for savings by participating in the program. All customers are eligible to participate in Energy Choice unless they have broken more than one payment plan in the last 12 months or are a Percentage of Income Payment Plan (PIPP) customer.
For a list of suppliers, contact the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio at 1-800-299-7271, or consult the PUCO Apples to Apples Natural Gas Marketer Comparison chart at www.puco.ohio.gov, or contact the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel at 1-877-742-5622 (www.pickocc.org).
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers of energy, with an energy portfolio of about 28,000 megawatts of generation, about 6.3 trillion cubic feet equivalent of proved natural gas reserves and 7,800 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline. Dominion also operates one of the nation's largest underground natural gas storage systems with more than 950 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 11 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's Web site at www.dom.com.
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