Who are Ohio's natural gas suppliers and what are typical rates?
Who supplies natural gas in Ohio?
There are several natural gas suppliers in Ohio. Among the list of suppliers, four leading suppliers participate in Ohio’s Energy Choice program, including Columbia Gas of Ohio, Dominion East Ohio, Duke Energy Ohio and Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio.
Whether you choose to use natural gas from one of these LDCs (local distribution companies), the government-regulated supplier, or a different private supplier, you will still rely on your current utility company to provide your basic services. No matter who you choose as your supplier, your utility company will be responsible for local distribution through their pipeline system, and all basic services including, hookups, distribution, and addressing safety concerns or service interruptions and repairs. Your utility company will also continue provide your monthly gas bill, however, you will see a line item charge for the natural gas source you are purchasing from.
Here is a quick breakdown of the four main local distribution companies in Ohio1:
- Columbia Gas of Ohio: Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Columbia Gas of Ohio is a larger company with nearly 1,000 employees. They are fully regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and all state and federal agencies. Their service area includes all of north and south-central Ohio and most of eastern Ohio.
- Dominion Energy Ohio: Dominion is a large natural gas and utility provider that services not just Ohio but also Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
- Duke Energy Ohio: Duke Energy is one of the largest power holding companies with over 7.8 million customers in 6-states. Their natural gas distribution network services 1.6 million customers in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and North and South Carolina. They have also been expanding services into the renewable energy market by investing in large-scale renewable energy projects across the country. They have been in business for over 150-years.
- Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio: Now part of the Center Point Energy family of companies, is another large-scale energy and natural gas provider spanning multiple states. They are headquartered in Houston, Texas, have over 9,600 employees and have been in business for over 140-years.
Even if you choose to get your natural gas from a supplier other than the four main LDCs discussed above, there is still a pretty good chance that one of these four companies will be responsible for distributing natural gas to your home. They may also be responsible for billing, repairs and safety concerns. If you should have any concerns about your natural gas pipeline at your home, contact your natural gas supplier directly.
How much does natural gas cost in Ohio?
Natural gas prices are often given in the price per 1-MCF (million cubic feet). The MRR (monthly retail rate) is what non-residential consumers can expect to pay. A utility company will have a rate based on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s month-end settlement price called the Standard Choice Offer. The Standard Choice Offer is a regulated rate charged by participating suppliers. The SCO is used to determine how much residential consumers can expect to pay per “therm” or BTU (British Thermal Unit). The MRR is then the price for large natural gas consumers that are typically non-residential2.
For example, if we look at Dominion Energy Ohio and their natural gas prices for the period of July 13th to August 10th, 2021, we can see that their SCO rate is $3.7670 per MCF, while the MRR is at $3.79 per MCF for non-residential consumers purchasing between 200 and 500 MCFs for that period. The price the individual consumer will see then is based on the SCO in Ohio. In the Midwest and the greater East North Central United States, we see an average residential price of $1.049 and $1.069 per therm in June 2021. All prices based on the SCO will fluctuate monthly unless you lock in a rate using a fixed-rate plan.
Dominion Energy Ohio also allows you to choose from several other suppliers different from their Standard Choice Offer. Here is just a quick sample of the MCF prices being offered by those other suppliers for the same period.
- My Choice Energy LLC: $3.7900 per MCF
- Nordic Energy Services: $9.2500 per MCF
- Ohio Gas & Electric: $5.800 per MCF
- Mercury Energy Ohio LLC: $3.500 per MCF
- Eligo Energy OH LLC: $1.99 per MCF
Several other suppliers are offering different prices as well. As you can see, if Dominion was your local utility company and you chose them also as your natural gas supplier, you would be paying the Standard Choice Offer of $3.7670 per MCF. Some suppliers are much cheaper with a price of $1.99 per MCF during the same period, but others can be 2 or 3 times the price, topping out at around $9.2500 per MCF3.
What time of year is natural gas cheapest in Ohio?
If you are shopping for natural gas plans and are looking to lock in a rate on a fixed-rate plan, the best times of the year to do this are late spring and early autumn4. These are the times of the year when natural gas consumption is low due to mild weather. People tend to use much more natural gas in the winter and summer months to fuel their home’s HVAC systems. Overall, natural gas prices are affected by supply and demand, and factors such as seasonality and severe weather events are the two most significant influences on natural gas prices.
When shopping for a fixed-rate plan through a supplier in Ohio, make sure you shop in late spring before the AC units start to kick on or in late autumn before people begin using their furnaces. The longer the length of a plan you can commit to, the lower your price may be over time, and the more resilient you are to any future uptick in the natural gas market.
How much is natural gas in Ohio per month?
A unit of measurement used to calculate price and usage for residential natural gas consumption is the therm. The price per therm varies by region and metropolitan area. The average price in the Midwest as of June 2021 is $1.063. Let us say the average home uses 40 therms per month during winter. You can expect your natural gas bill to be somewhere around $42.52 if you lock in the rate from June 20215.
Who supplies natural gas in Columbus, Ohio?
Columbia Gas of Ohio is the largest local distribution company of natural gas in Columbus, Ohio6. They will be who you contact for natural gas hookup and all other essential services. You can choose to go with the rate that is considered their Standard Choice Offer or choose a different supplier on the Ohio energy market.
How much does natural gas cost in Columbus, Ohio?
Yet another unit of measurement used to measure natural gas usage is the CCF. CCF is natural gas measured in units of hundreds of cubic feet. Many utility companies use either CCFs or therms to help you determine your usage and price for natural gas.
Some current prices as of July 29th, 2021, in the Columbus, Ohio area include7:
- Santana Energy Service: 12 months at $0.3580 per CCF
- Ohio Natural Gas: one month at $0.4990 per CCF
- XOOM Energy: 12 months at $0.5090 per CCF
- Energy Harbor: 36 months at $0.5290 per CCF
All of these prices can be locked in for the term periods outlined in their plan details. Since there are currently summer prices when people use natural gas to run their AC units, you may want to consider waiting a few months to autumn to lock in a 12, 24, or 36-month fixed-rate plan for natural gas.
Who supplies natural gas in Cleveland, Ohio?
The leading local distribution company and utility service company for natural gas in the Cleveland area is Dominion Energy8.
How much does natural gas cost in Cleveland, Ohio?
Dominion offers natural gas supplied by many of the same supply companies that Columbus Gas of Ohio uses as well for the Columbus, Ohio region. Dominion Energy uses MCFs to determine natural gas usage and rates for its customers.
Here is a list of some rates currently being offered in the Cleveland area as of July 29th, 2021:
- Santana Energy Service: 12 months at $2.59 per MCF
- Ohio Natural Gas: one month at $3.99 per MCF
- XOOM Energy: 12 months at $3.79 per MCF
- Energy Harbor: 36 months at $3.99 per MCF
- Energy Harbor: 24 months at $4.09 per MCF
Who has the cheapest natural gas in Ohio?
Natural gas prices fluctuate month-to-month, and different suppliers offer a variety of prices for fixed-rate plans. If you are looking for a new fixed-rate plan for natural gas for home use, you should shop Ohio’s natural gas suppliers side by side to see who can offer the cheapest gas in Ohio.
Can you shop for natural gas in Ohio?
Since 1996, Ohio has been a deregulated energy state, allowing residents to shop for energy and natural gas suppliers. There are far more suppliers in a deregulated energy market than regulated states, increasing competition and benefiting consumers. Consumers can compare rates and services of various third-party suppliers in Ohio. In deregulated energy states, you will also find more green pricing programs compared to regulated states9.
While there are several natural gas suppliers in Ohio, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) oversees all utilities and allows suppliers to transmit electricity and natural gas to customers. A main priority of PUCO is to ensure that competition is fair. They can work with consumers to resolve any disputes or issues10.
Ohio residents have the right to choose their natural gas supplier. Most residents in Ohio choose fixed-rate natural gas plans, which can offer consumers more protection since prices should not change during the contract. With more choices, consumers should do their research to make educated decisions on which supplier to choose.
What are the advantages of a deregulated energy market?
Deregulated energy markets offer consumers benefits. The government allows consumers to choose their natural gas and electricity suppliers in deregulated markets. Consumers can shop suppliers based on the company itself and, of course, pricing.
In regulated markets, consumers are forced to purchase energy or natural gas from the utility provider. With more competition, you may find more price changes, but in some cases, that may work in favor of consumers. Some consumers may prefer less choice. However, other consumers may prefer the ability to choose what works best for them and their home.
Here is a brief list of the main advantages that Ohio residents get for being part of a deregulated energy market11:
1. Freedom of choice
Consumers are not forced to use the utility provider’s gas or energy plans in a deregulated market. Consumers can shop third-party energy and natural gas suppliers to pick the supplier of their choice. Whether you are shopping for a supplier whose values align with yours or shopping for a supplier with the lowest prices, you have the power to choose. Energy & natural gas companies must be more competitive to retain customers in a deregulated market.
2. More predictable bills
In a regulated market, energy and natural gas costs can vary from month to month. Bills typically have a supply cost and utility/delivery cost. A supply cost is the cost of the actual commodity, such as electricity or natural gas. Utility costs are exactly what they sound like; the cost of delivering the resources from the source to you. In a deregulated market, consumers have a stable supply rate, thus making monthly costs more predictable. Utility costs can vary based on usage, but supply costs should be consistent.
3. Competitive advantage
Regardless of the market, all states have periods of high demand. Typically in the winter, Ohio residents kick up the heater or turn on the gas fireplace. In deregulated markets, residents can use high-demand periods to their advantage. Residents can lock in rates during non-peak seasons. In addition, with more than one choice for a supplier, consumers can switch if rates get too high or are not meeting their needs.
How much natural gas does Ohio produce?
The state of Ohio produced over 1,200 trillion BTU in 2019. In 2020, Ohio was the fourth-largest electricity consumer in the United States. The total in-state generation has primarily been natural gas since 2019. Ohio produces more natural gas than it consumes, and Ohio has the seventh-largest natural gas storage capacity12.
Why is the price of natural gas in Ohio so high in 2021?
Crude oil prices are rising, which impacts the cost of natural gas. However, in Ohio, the fact that demand is growing faster than supply may be impacting natural gas prices the most. In Ohio, customers can control who supplies their gas, but they cannot control who transports it and when it is transported. It’s estimated that Ohio residents may see natural gas bills go up as much as 30% this winter.
Ohio residents can shop for suppliers on the open market at energychoice.ohio.gov. Residents can compare prices, contracts and other factors. Ohio residents can choose from variable or fixed-rate plans. When comparing plans, residents should read the fine print and terms to know the entire agreement, not just the advertised information. In some cases, residents may have contracts that automatically renew with higher rates. You will want to be aware of changes such as this before signing up. In addition, some companies may charge a termination fee for early contract termination if you decide to switch13.
How can I cut down on my natural gas bill?
There are ways you can save on your natural gas bill. Luckily, as an Ohio resident, you can shop suppliers, easy to find at a lower rate. This may be the first way you want to try to lower your natural gas bill. Once you have a competitive contract, you can work on other ways to save on your natural gas bill.
Here are a few ways you can save on your natural gas bill in Ohio:
1. Update equipment
Outdated heating systems may be wasting energy and therefore costing you more for what it generates. While it may require investment to update equipment, it can save you money over time on your natural gas bill.
2. Improve insulation
Homes with inadequate insulation may also be operating inefficiently. Improving insulation can ensure that heat and cooling efforts stay inside rather than escaping through door cracks and windows. This allows you to heat your home without having to run the heater constantly.
3. Weatherproof your home
In Ohio, temperatures dip during the winter. Residents may need to use more heat during the winter months. Weatherproofing your home can help reduce your energy usage, such as having windows that can maintain heat inside while it is cold outside.
Is it a good idea to lock in natural gas prices?
It’s usually a good idea to lock your natural gas prices. Fixed-rate plans offer prices that do not change over a year. If you can enroll in a fixed-rate plan during non-peak seasons, you may be able to lock in relatively low rates. However, you will want to be aware of when the contract expires. In some cases, you may lock in a promotional rate for a short term, but once the promotional period expires, rates may significantly increase.
Can you get renewable natural gas in Ohio?
Yes, you can get renewable natural gas in Ohio. However, only about 3% of Ohio’s total in-state electricity generation will be supplied by renewable energy sources in 2020. This is expected to increase over the decade.
Which natural gas supplier should I use in Ohio?
If you want to do your part to protect the environment, we recommend finding ways to reduce your net carbon emissions, like signing up for a clean natural gas plan. Inspire's Clean Natural Gas plan offers peace of mind with a predictable price. Plus, there are no sign-up or cancellation fees and no installations or service interruptions when choosing Inspire as your natural gas supplier. We'll generate a customized price for your natural gas supply based on factors, including your home's energy consumption patterns.
Once you're a member, you'll rest easy knowing that carbon emissions from your home's natural gas consumption are being neutralized, and you're doing something positive for the planet.
When you switch to Inspire's Clean Natural Gas plan, your gas will continue to be delivered to you by your local utility company. Inspire will replace your current natural gas supplier, and once you start service, you will see “Inspire” listed as your natural gas supplier on your utility bill. We will begin to purchase offsets on your behalf to neutralize the carbon emissions associated with your home's natural gas consumption.
It's never been easier to reduce your net carbon emissions and make an impact on the planet. To learn more about offsetting your natural gas consumption, visit Inspire’s Clean Natural Gas plan page or contact Inspire’s friendly Member Experience team at (866) 403-2620.
And if you're looking for renewable energy options for your home's electricity supply needs, we also offer access to clean, renewable energy for one flat monthly price. Start now – the earth will thank you.