Standard Choice Offer FAQ
Q: What is the Standard Choice Offer?
A: The Standard Choice Offer, or SCO, is a regulated price available to customers who don’t participate in Columbia Gas of Ohio’s Customer CHOICE® Program.
Q: How do I know who my SCO supplier is?
A: SCO customers see that information on their Columbia Gas of Ohio bill. Your SCO supplier may change each April following the annual gas supply auction.
Q: What companies are the SCO suppliers?
The annual auction conducted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) selected five SCO suppliers for April 2015 through March 2016:
- Constellation Energy
- Direct Energy
- DTE Energy
- NextEra Energy
- Volunteer Energy
Q: Can SCO customers switch to a CHOICE® supplier?
A: Yes. SCO customers can switch to a CHOICE® supplier at any time, without penalty.
Q: Can CHOICE® customers switch to the SCO?
A: Yes. However, some CHOICE® suppliers charge a penalty for switching before your CHOICE® contract is up. Contact your CHOICE® supplier for details.
Q: Can I switch SCO suppliers?
A: No. However, all SCO suppliers charge the same regulated rate, so there's no price advantage to being served by one SCO supplier over another.
Q: What happens if the SCO supplier goes out of business? Will I still receive my gas?
A: Yes. Columbia Gas will ensure that supplies are maintained. No customer will lose service due to a supplier default.
Q: Will my bill come from Columbia Gas? Will Columbia respond to emergencies?
A: Yes. Columbia will continue to deliver natural gas, respond to emergencies, read your meter, answer your calls and bill you regardless of whether you're a CHOICE® or SCO customer.
Q: What taxes are charged to SCO customers?
A: SCO customers pay sales tax at the prevailing rate in their county (like CHOICE® customers). This revenue goes to state and local governments, and does not benefit Columbia or your retail gas supplier.
Q: What if I am exempt from paying sales tax?
A: You need to submit proper documentation to your SCO supplier to avoid paying sales tax on your natural gas purchases. You may visit www.tax.ohio.gov/forms to obtain the Certificate of Exemption form you will need. List your SCO supplier, not Columbia Gas, where it asks for a Vendor Name. You don't need to submit documentation to Columbia Gas. Contact information for your SCO supplier is on your Columbia Gas bill. If your SCO supplier changes, you will need to submit documentation to your new SCO supplier to avoid being charged sales tax.
Q: What is Default Sales Service (DSS)?
A: A gas supply rate for Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus) customers, customers in transition from CHOICE® to the SCO, customers who have moved, new customers and customers who otherwise aren't eligible for the CHOICE® Program. The DSS rate is the same as the SCO rate, but DSS customers won't see a supplier's name on their bill.
Q: What if I move – will I have the same SCO supplier at my new home?
A: You will continue to pay the SCO rate, but your SCO supplier will not automatically transfer to your new address. You'll be served under Default Sales Service (DSS) for up to two months. Under the DSS, you'll pay the SCO rate but won't see the name of a supplier on your bill.
Q: If I leave the CHOICE® Program, do I become an SCO customer right away?
A: No. During a transition period, you will be served under the Default Sales Service (DSS). You'll pay the SCO rate, but won't see the name of a supplier on your bill right away.
Q: What is the Balancing Fee?
CHOICE® and Standard Choice Offer (SCO) suppliers deliver quantities of gas to Columbia Gas of Ohio for their customers on a daily basis. The differences between actual consumption and the quantities delivered by the suppliers are managed by Columbia Gas of Ohio through its "balancing" service. Costs of this service are recovered through the Balancing Fee.