In recent years, the Plain Dealer’s John Funk has written a number of articles on residential and small commercial natural gas prices. John’s most recent article from Sunday, December 25 is How to choose the best natural gas contract. Commodity prices of natural gas haven’t been this low in a decade. We have recommended that Dominion East Ohio (DEO) customers stay with the variable Standard Choice Offer (SCO) rate, if they have not selected another supplier. If a customer had already contracted with a supplier at a higher rate, we recommended that the customer cancel and default back to DEO if there was not a significant penalty charged by the supplier. In fact, this is what I did for my Cleveland area home. I regret that I didn’t recall the information in John Funk’s September 4, 2010 article, Dominion East Ohio Gas switches some customers to high-priced suppliers. The reason I mention this is because for the last two months I became one of the customers that was bumped to a higher-priced supplier. If I had recalled the article, I could have maximized my natural gas savings in recent months by making a simple phone call to DEO specifically requesting to be returned to the least expensive variable program, the SCO. When I defaulted back to DEO’s variable program last September, I was returned to a different program called Standard Service Offer (SSO). Like the SCO, the pricing formula was identical for two months - the NYMEX settlement price at the end of each month plus a dollar per Mcf. What I did not recall was that, after two months under the SSO, my account was handed over to a higher priced marketer under the Monthly Variable Rate (MVR) program. The particular marketer that I was assigned used a pricing formula of the NYMEX settlement price each month plus $1.75 per Mcf, as opposed to $1.00. Summary: If your intention is to default to DEO’s variable program, examine your natural gas bill closely. Make certain that you are on the Standard Choice Offer (SCO) program as opposed to the Standard Service Offer (SSO) or the Monthly Variable Rate (MVR). If you are on the MVR program ask your supplier what formula they are using. If it is not NYMEX plus $1/Mcf or less, contact DEO and request to be returned to the SCO program. Mike Brakey
FirstEnergy passes on the costs associated with Ohio’s energy efficiency mandates to their customers through a charge called the DSE2 charge. FirstEnergy recently announced their new DSE2 rates that will take effect on January 1, 2012. The current and new rates in cents per kilowatt hour, by utility and rate schedule, are summarized in the table below (table no longer available).
If the rates for your rate schedule are increasing and you are a “mercantile” customer, it is now even more important to see if you can qualify for exemption from the energy efficiency charges. Contact us if you have any questions about your situation.