June 29, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Gas rate rises for Wadsworth

WADSWORTH — The city’s gas aggregation customers will pay a slightly higher rate than last year, but still less than any other fixed rate in the state.

The city announced the rate for the coming year will be $4.77 per thousand cubic feet. The cost is slightly higher than last year’s $4.53, but remains more than 20 cents lower than any year-long fixed rate listed on the Ohio Consumer Counsel’s gas rate comparison.

The price also is less than half the 2008 rate of $10.54.

The New York Mercantile Exchange — a commodity futures exchange that sets the baseline for the price of energy products like natural gas — shows a slight increase over this time last year.

“With gas prices beginning to climb, we took the opportunity to lock in a price a little early this year,” city Service Director Chris Easton said. “We know that many of our residents appreciate having a fixed rate to depend on. We are appreciative of the work our aggregation provider, American Municipal Power, has done in securing competitive rates, year after year.”

Easton added: “The availability of natural gas in the market is still significant and so prices have been maintained at lower than historical rates.”

The new rate will take effect with the November billing cycle and appear on the December bill. The pricing is good through October 2014 for all of the city’s 5,700 customers — two-thirds of all Wadsworth households.

Interstate Gas Supply of Dublin will remain the supplier for the program. Dominion East Ohio will continue to maintain the pipeline system that delivers natural gas, and customers will continue to receive a single bill from Dominion.

Wadsworth and Brunswick are the only communities in Medina County to offer residents a fixed rate for gas through aggregation.

Wadsworth is part of a gas aggregation program through American Municipal Power with Dover in Tuscarawas County, and Marshallville, Orrville, Doylestown and Chippewa Township, all in Wayne County.

Brunswick works with the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council to provide a fixed rate — $5.73 per thousand cubic feet — for 6,751 households, or slightly more than half the households in the city.

Brunswick’s rate is higher than Wadsworth’s, in part, because billing manager Columbia Gas has extra pipeline charges, NOPEC marketing director Denise Dean said.

Medina County commissioners discussed gas aggregation earlier this year but tabled the idea after receiving lackluster responses from the county’s cities and townships.

Wadsworth customers still should contact Dominion regarding any issues or concerns with local service. Budget billing and automatic billing options will continue through Dominion as well.

Existing customers of the program will not need to take any action and will receive notification of the new price by mail within the next several weeks, a news release said.

Residents enrolled with other gas suppliers can call Interstate Gas Supply at (800) 280-4474 to sign up for the city’s aggregation program.

City officials said switching from another supplier might result in a penalty and residents should check with their existing supplier first.

Information on gas pricing options is on the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel website, www.pickocc.org/gas/compare.shtml.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.