PUCO: Part of natural gas bills will fall slightly

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PUCO: Part of natural gas bills will fall slightly

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A drilling rig stands lit in Carroll County in 2013 when there was talk of an unstoppable shale “boom” in Ohio. Natural gas from shale wells was increasing at the time. The Plain Dealer

A component of Vectren natural gas bills will fall slightly after the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) accepted the results of Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio’s auction for default natural gas service.

The auction secured natural gas supply for Vectren’s customers from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, setting a retail price adjustment of $0.087 per hundred cubic feet (ccf), PUCO said Wednesday.

An average residential customer uses about 80 ccf per month, so the retail markup might be close to a dollar less each month, a PUCO spokesman said.

“We can say a component of your bill will fall 1.3 cents per ccf,” said PUCO spokesman Matt Schilling. “But the gas price itself fluctuates month to month.”

Vectren’s default rate, known as the “standard choice offer,” changes monthly and is calculated as the sum of the retail price adjustment, plus the New York Mercantile Exchange month-end settlement price, PUCO said.

The price adjustment reflects the winning bidders’ estimate of their cost to deliver natural gas to Vectren’s service area.

The offer will apply to Vectren’s choice-eligible customers that have not selected an alternative supplier, PUCO also said.

More immediately, however, cold weather is pushing natural gas bills higher.

Last week, Vectren warned customers that since they are using more natural gas in this dramatically colder weather, they can expect gas bills to be higher.

A message was left for a spokeswoman for Vectren.

Vectren’s energy delivery subsidiaries provide gas and/or electricity to more than 1 million customers in nearly two-thirds of Indiana and about 20 percent of Ohio, primarily in the west-central part of the Buckeye State.

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