PUCO: Gas auction results in slightly cheaper Vectren bill component

A drilling rig stands lit in Carroll County in 2013 when there was talk of an unstoppable shale “boom” in Ohio. The Plain Dealer
A drilling rig stands lit in Carroll County in 2013 when there was talk of an unstoppable shale “boom” in Ohio. The Plain Dealer

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) accepted the results of Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio’s auction for its standard choice offer, the commission said Wednesday.

The results mean that part of a customer’s overall natural gas bill will be going down, a PUCO spokesman said.

The auction set natural gas supplies for Vectren’s customers from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 and established a retail price adjustment of $0.075 per hundred cubic feet (ccf), according to the PUCO.

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Overall, natural gas prices fluctuate month to month. Vectren’s standard choice offer (SCO) rate changes monthly and is calculated as the sum of the retail price adjustment, plus the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) month-end settlement price.

This component of the bill will be heading downward for customers, said Matt Schilling, a spokesman for PUCO.

“Directionally, it’s going down,” Schilling said of this component of the gas bill.

Competitive bidding produced a "record low price" for a component of the Vectren standard choice offer, said J.P. Blackwood, spokesman for Ohio Consumers' Counsel Bruce Weston.

"Vectren’s auction shows that the competitive energy market is working to save consumers money, reflecting that the Ohio region has among the lowest gas prices in the world," Blackwood said. "Consumers can contact Vectren to confirm that they are signed up for saving money with its 'standard choice offer.'"

Consumers who want to switch from an energy marketer to Vectren’s offer should first check to learn if their marketer would charge them an early termination fee, Blackwood added.

The auction price adjustment reflects the winning bidders’ estimate of their cost to deliver natural gas from production areas to Vectren’s service area, the PUCO said.

The standard choice offer will apply to Vectren’s choice-eligible customers who have not selected an alternative supplier.

Each SCO customer’s bill will indicate the certified retail natural gas supplier that is responsible for providing the customer’s natural gas. Vectren will continue to deliver natural gas to all customers, offer payment plans and handle all emergency and customer service calls.

A copy of today's finding and order, and a redacted auction report are available on the PUCO website at www.PUCO.ohio.gov. Click on the link to the Docketing Information System and enter the case number 20-120-GA-UNC.