Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel

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Contact: Marty Berkowitz (614) 387-2962
berkowitz@occ.state.oh.us

 

Vectren's standard offer for customers
will remain low after price auction

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jan. 16, 2013 – Vectren customers who purchase their natural gas supply at the standard offer rate through the utility will continue paying a low rate. Today, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved the results of the auction which determined the standard offer rate. The rate will go into effect April 1.

A representative of the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) was present at the auction which determined the price of Vectren's standard offer, technically called the "standard choice offer" or "SCO" rate. The standard offer is the rate customers pay for the commodity of natural gas if they continue to purchase natural gas through Vectren. The price of natural gas makes up about 60 percent of a customers' monthly bill.

"The auction result again confirms the consumer benefit of a competitive standard offer for natural gas," said Consumers' Counsel Bruce Weston. "Customers who purchase natural gas through Vectren's standard offer are benefiting from low natural gas market prices."

The auction determined a "retail price adjustment" of $1.05 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas. This retail price will be added to the wholesale price of natural gas calculated each month on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). This was the fourth auction held since Vectren began pricing natural gas through a market-based system. Each year, the retail price adjustment has either reduced consumers' bills or remained the same.

Many of the same energy marketers who compete for customers' business at the retail level also bid at the auction. The energy marketers who bid the lowest prices at the auction won the right to supply natural gas to the Vectren customers who have chosen to continue purchasing natural gas at the utility's standard offer.

The winning energy marketers also won the right to have their names listed on customers' bills. As a result, customers may see a different marketer's name listed on their bill on April 1. However, the standard offer price will be the same, no matter which energy marketer's name appears on the bill. Vectren will continue to transport natural gas through its pipelines and be responsible for pipeline repair, meter-reading, billing and other customer service issues.

Consumers should review all of their options before signing a contract with an energy marketer. OCC publishes a fact sheet that compares price offers from energy marketers to the price of Vectren's standard offer. This will help consumers make smart energy choices. Click here or visit http://www.pickocc.org/gas/choice.shtml for price comparison information.

To download information about the PUCO's approval of yesterday's auction results, visit the case docket at Vectren case number 07-1285-GA-EXM.

 

About the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel

The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC), the residential utility consumer advocate, represents the interests of 4.5 million households in proceedings before state and federal regulators and in the courts. The state agency also educates consumers about electric, natural gas, telephone and water issues. For more information, please visit the OCC website at www.pickocc.org.
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