Source: The Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Dominion East Ohio residential customers who buy gas through the company’s Standard Choice Offer, or SCO, will see prices fall by 8.9 percent on Feb. 12.
The price cut in the heart of winter, set to be approved Tuesday by state regulators, is occurring because the SCO rate is tied to the monthly variable commodity price of gas. That price is set on the New York Mercantile Exchange at the end of every month. The NYMEX February gas price fell last week.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The SCO price will fall from the current $3.62 per 1,000 cubic feet (1 Mcf) to $3.30 per Mcf.
- The average heating bill for a SCO customer for mid-February to mid-March should be about $90.92 — down about $12 from the average January to February heating bills.
- SCO customers receive their gas from a number of participating suppliers who have won the right to be a Dominion supplier in an annual wholesale auction. Those suppliers must charge the same price. And it does not matter which of them is your supplier. Dominion randomly pairs customers with suppliers.
- February bills will be significantly lower than February 2014 bills when the polar vortex outbreaks in January sent NYMEX commodity prices soaring for a month, propelling the SCO to more than $6 and pushing average bills to more than $134 before prices subsided in March.
- The SCO price covers the cost of the gas itself. It does not include delivery-related charges. Nor does it include the flat rate of $23.58 that the company charges all customers. That rate includes a $17.58 service charge, a 56-cent charge to pay for the automated meters now installed in most homes, and a $5.44 charge to finance the company’s 25-year pipeline replacement program.
- Percentage of Income Payment Plan customers and other customers who are not eligible to sign up for the SCO will receive the same rate under a parallel program called the Standard Service Offer, or SSO.
- Customers are free to sign a retail contract with independent suppliers at any time, but returning to the SCO typically takes 60 days, or two billing cycles.
- The Dominion price cut follows a similar price drop announced last week by Columbia Gas of Ohio.