Understanding Natural Gas Energy Choice in Ohio

The PUCO natural gas choice program (Ohio natural gas deregulation) has been in place since 1997. Here’s information on the energy choice Ohio natural gas program, and the agency that oversees it, the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO)

What is the Energy Choice Ohio Program?

The Energy Choice Ohio program refers to two aspects of deregulated energy choice:

  • Ohio Natural Gas Choice Program
  • Ohio Electricity Choice Program

The Ohio energy choice programs let you choose the supplier of your natural gas (or electricity).

You no longer have to purchase your natural gas supply from the local utility company. Each utility has their own Choice program and manages the details of their natural gas choice program differently. (You may also hear the program called Switch Energy Ohio. )

But, every utility choice program comes down to one thing — choosing to secure a fixed rate for your Ohio natural gas plan.

And even if you shop for a natural gas company the local utility company still delivers gas to your home, sends your bill and responds to gas safety issues. The only real change is that you choose to secure your rate for natural gas.

Shop Energy Choice Ohio Natural Gas Offers

Your Natural Gas Standard Choice Offer Rate

If you do not shop for your natural gas supply, you will pay the Standard Choice Offer (SCO) rate. The SCO changes monthly based on the NYMEX month-end settlement price for natural gas (the wholesale price), plus a “retail price adjustment” that’s determined at an annual auction. PUCO oversees this auction process.

Think of the NYMEX, or New York Mercantile Exchange, is a stock market for energy commodities.  Trading in this commodity market determines the daily national market price for natural gas, and the cost for natural gas at each delivery point. Supply, demand, weather (think, “2016 Polar Vortex) all impact the price for natural gas.

If you have the Standard Choice Offer with your utility, you are not taking advantage of energy choice Ohio. Your rate changes monthly and is totally out of your control. That’s can be costly in the winter heating months.

That’s why we recommend shopping for a fixed rate plan for your natural gas supply.  It gives you price certainty, so you can budget and avoid the gas bill surprise.

If you are in any of these utility markets, you can participate in Energy Choice Ohio and shop for your natural gas supply:

>> Compare Ohio Natural Gas Prices

>> Compare Ohio Electricity Prices

Shop Alternative Supplier Natural Gas Prices in Ohio

Why is NaturalGasPlans.com Better than PUCO Apples to Apples

The Public Utility Commission of Ohio created their Energy Choice Ohio / PUCO Apples to Apples comparison shopping sites to help you shop for electricity and natural gas. But there are so many offers! Which one to choose?

Plus a lot of providers put variable rate natural gas plans on the Energy Choice Ohio gov site. Variable rates are the ultimate “bait & switch” natural gas offer. Consumers think that they are getting a great rate. But that’s really just an introductory rate. So after a couple months? Their rate plan is going to go sky high.

That’s why we created NaturalGasPlans.com as an alternative to Energy Choice Ohio and the PUCO Apples to Apples site.

We work with only high quality providers and get the best OH natural gas rates for you. We’ve already done the comparison shopping, so you don’t have to! All prices are compared apples to apples on the site. And, we only show fixed rate plans, so you don’t have to worry about getting that surprise bill.

What is the Switching Process in Energy Choice Ohio Natural Gas?

Congraulations! You’ve made the choice to shop for your natural gas supplier in Ohio. By doing this you are exercising your rights under the Energy Choice Ohio program.

First, get a copy of your bill so you have your current natural gas price and your account number.

Second, shop for an OH natural gas plan. We recommend that you shop by zip code, and sort plans from low to high. Most consumers pick a 12-month fixed rate natural gas plan. But don’t forget to look at other options. Depending on the time of year, you can get a low gas rate by picking a longer or shorter contract term.

Third, review the details on the plan before you sign. On NaturalGasPlans.com, we show the price per unit of gas, info on any early termination penalty, any monthly charges. We also have the legal and regulatory documents online. Once you click to sign up, you’ll complete the process on the supplier’s website.

Fourth, get your confirmation of switch. Your local natural gas utility will send you a letter confirming the supplier you selected. If you have changed your mind, you have 7 days from the postmark date of that letter to cancel your switch. Just contact the supplier to use your “right of rescission.”

Ohio Energy Choice Natural Gas Aggregation

One of the other programs under Ohio Energy Choice is community aggregation.

Under aggregation, citizens in a community are packaged together, and sold to the lowest bidder. Energy suppliers bid on this opportunity. The winning bidder sets the price you will pay, and the term you will pay it form

Most aggregations in Ohio are “opt-out” aggregations. You can opt-out by returning a postcard or going online. And you’re automatically opted-out if you are already with a competitive energy supplier under Ohio Energy Choice. Otherwise, you will be switched to the winning bidder for your community.

Aggregations typically provide for a 2 or 3 year term. And the natural gas prices can change quite a bit over that time!

If you are part of a community aggregation for natural gas, just know that you have a choice. You can leave the aggregation and shop for a new natural gas supplier at any time. There’s no early termination fee if you want to leave the aggregation.

If you are part of a community aggregation for natural gas in Ohio, we recommend that you check the price quarterly against other Ohio natural gas suppliers in your area. It’s your right to make this apples to apples comparison under the PUCO Energy Choice Ohio program.

And if you can find a better rate for your Ohio natural gas supply? Lock it in!

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