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Ohio customers can choose their natural gas supplier

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As an Ohio customer, you have options when it comes to who supplies your natural gas. You can choose to stay with the Standard Choice Offer (SCO) – or you can choose another supplier through the natural gas Choice program. Why choose? Well, let’s first make sure you understand your bill.

There are two key parts to your natural gas bill; 1) the Distribution and Service Charges, and this charge is simply the cost to DELIVER the natural gas to your home. And the second is the gas supplier charges – and this reflects the cost of the natural gas you use in your home. 

While you can’t choose another company to deliver gas to your home, you can choose someone else to supply the gas you’re using. Hence, the natural gas Choice program.

How are natural gas prices determined?
Natural gas is a commodity that’s bought and sold in an open market – just like oil or even stocks. It’s traded daily on the New York Mercantile Exchange, or NYMEX market. Its price can fluctuate daily based on supply and demand, weather or even the economy. The bottom line – no one can predict its price.

Since April 2010, customers who have not selected an alternate natural gas supplier through the Choice program have been receiving gas supply at the SCO price via an SCO supplier. Through a competitive auction, three natural gas suppliers won the right to supply Vectren’s residential and small business customers at the SCO price from April 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014. These three SCO suppliers are Direct Energy Services, DTE Energy Supply and Hess Corporation.

The SCO price is variable, meaning it will change from month to month based on changes in the natural gas pricing market. The SCO price reflects the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) monthly settlement price for natural gas plus a retail price adjustment of $0.105 per CCF. Keep in mind that regardless of the name of the supplier that is serving your home or business, all SCO suppliers’ monthly prices are the same. Therefore, if a friend or neighbor is receiving the SCO service but a different supplier is listed, you both are still paying the same monthly price for your natural gas.

How can choosing a natural gas supplier help you? 
Through the natural gas Choice program, natural gas suppliers can offer pricing options that differ from the SCO service. For example, through a Choice supplier you can lock in a fixed rate and avoid uncertainties that often come with a fluctuating market. Some suppliers even make offers whereby they guarantee to beat the monthly SCO price for a set period of time. Simply put, you have options with suppliers that you don’t have with the SCO service – and these options can provide peace of mind and perhaps price savings.

How do you shop around?
You can find the current SCO rate and those of competing suppliers on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio web site. The PUCO also has a unique tool called Apples to Apples interactive calculator that helps you compare Vectren’s price per unit to one from a Choice supplier. The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel offers a similar tool called Calculating Your Energy Choices. Find other helpful tips at Vectren.com/Ohio.

Do you have to choose a supplier? 
No.You can remain with Vectren’s SCO service.

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