Afraid of winter heating bills? Here are low gas prices from COSE and NOPEC
By John Funk, The Plain Dealer on September 10, 2014
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Council of Smaller Enterprises, or COSE, has negotiated lower natural gas prices with its supplier for member companies and their employees.
The price cut comes as weather forecasters and gas experts are debating the chances of another very cold winter featuring an attack of a polar vortex like the one that made last winter the coldest in 20 years and strained both gas pipeline systems and electric grids.
The COSE-Integrys Energy fixed price posted Wednesday is $4.79 cents per 1,000 cubic feet for companies and employees whose gas is delivered by Dominion East Ohio. Contracts are available at this price for one, two or three years. There is a $75 early cancellation fee. The price is lower than Integrys Energy’s residential rates posted by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the PUCO’s Apples to Apples charts.
The COSE-Integrys price, a 50-cent reduction from earlier rates, is also a dime under the current, July-through-October rate offered by the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council, or NOPEC, to consumers and small businesses in Dominion territory.
COSE’s new fixed-price, a one-year contract for Columbia Gas of Ohio customers, is 62.3 cents per 100 cubic feet, or 60.7 cents for two-year and three-year contracts. Monthly and quarterly rates are also available for Columbia customers.
NOPEC’s current rate for Columbia customers is 59.3 cents per ccf.
NOPEC offers both Dominion and Columbia customers monthly variable rates, calculated from the monthly commodity price set on the New York Mercantile Exchange, or NYMEX.
Currently, at $4.218 per Mcf in Dominion territory and 53.37 cents in Columbia territory, the NOPEC monthly variable rates are guaranteed to be slightly below each utility’s Standard Choice Offer, which is also determined by monthly NYMEX prices.
Northeast Ohio residential customers use an average of about 100 Mcf or 1,000 Ccf of gas per year, less if their homes are new or have been upgraded with additional insulation and newer furnaces.
Both utilities offer subsidized energy audits and weatherization programs for all residential customers.