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Ohio Retail Gas Market Becoming More Competitive
The Public Utilities Commision of Ohio, this week, released two orders to restructure their gas utilities. The orders are changes that, analysts are saying, will spark some much needed competition in the retail market. The plans are being tested in the market, currently.
“The transition in Ohio into a more competitive and robust market provides incentives for suppliers to provide consumers the best options available to them in terms of making a selection for their natural gas needs,” says Todd Snitchler, Chairman of the PUC.
Both Dominion East Ohio and Columbia Gas have been granted approval for plans allowing them to refuse standard choice offers for eligible customers (non-residential). Columbia will only be allowed to exit their duties once a 70% alternative-supply shopping rate was met. Since Dominion is already out of this merchant function for its non-residential customers, 5% of their customers that have not chosen an alternative gas supplier will be randomly assigned to a supplier to provide them with default service. Customers will pay that suppliers monthly variable rate.
Dominion will not be able to leave the merchant function for 2 years. Dominion is required to also organize a workshop to educate their customers about alternative gas supply. These orders will immediately change the billing process.
Direct Energy CEO said that these “decisions are a strong signal that Ohio is a growing competitive energy market. They are an invitation to companies like Direct Energy to invest and grow in this state.”