A program that will save metro Toledo-area residents on their natural gas bills has been revived.
The Northwest Ohio Aggregation Coalition, a pool of area communities that uses their buying power collectively to negotiate lower utility rates, is back in business in the Columbia Gas of Ohio territory. Coalition officials said yesterday it signed a deal to buy gas from alternative supplier Interstate Gas Supply Inc. at a price that will be consistently 2 cents per 100 cubic feet cheaper than Columbia Gas' monthly price.
The rate will take effect with the July billing period.
The coalition represents about 75,000 residents in Toledo, Maumee, Northwood, Oregon, Sylvania, Perrysburg Township, Holland, Lake Township, and Lucas County. Each of those residents automatically will receive a savings of 2 cents per 100 cubic feet of gas used each month unless they send in an "opt-out" form being sent to homeowners and renters.
If a resident opts out, he pays either the higher Columbia Gas rate or tries to find an alternative supplier.
Since April, Columbia Gas' monthly price has been based on the price of gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange, plus a service fee set at an annual auction conducted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. This year, the service fee is 19.3 cents per 100 cubic feet.
The coalition, which was disbanded this year when Columbia Gas began its new rate-setting process, contracted with Interstate Gas for a monthly rate of the monthly Nymex price, plus a service fee of 17.2 cents per 100 cubic feet. It means the Interstate Gas rate will always be 2 cents cheaper than that of Columbia Gas.
The letters sent to residents explain the program and state that by doing nothing, the residents will receive the rate lower than the Columbia Gas rate.
Coalition officials said the Interstate Gas contract should save residents $10 to $15 annually on their gas bills.
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