How to Choose a Gas Supplier
We want you to have a CHOICE®
The Customer CHOICE® program for the Columbia Gas of Ohio is designated to help our customers take advantage of deregulation by making it easy to choose a different gas supplier...one who can sell gas for less than we can. Choice helps our customers save money.
But it doesn't mean lost business for Columbia Gas, either. By law, we pass the price we pay for gas on to the consumer dollar for dollar with no mark up. We make no money on the sale of gas. Instead, our profit comes from the transportation and delivery of gas. We'll still handle that no matter who your supplier is. So, your participation in the Customer CHOICE® program is good for everyone.
For more information, visit our Customer CHOICE® FAQ page.
Customer CHOICE® de Columbia Gas en español.
Choosing a Supplier
We can't make any recommendation about who you should choose. But we do have some suggestions on how to make the best choice.
1) Know what offers are available
Many suppliers are explaining their offers in newspaper, radio, TV and direct mail advertising. Others may call you or come to your home. Or you can call them.
2) Evaluate the offer
Remember that all suppliers are selling the same product: natural gas. While there are many important factors to consider, the biggest difference among suppliers is price. So they may package their offers in many different ways to make them sound attractive. It can be confusing. In order to make the right selection, you should examine the offers closely. For example, an offer of 40% savings sounds substantial, but when you discover it's based on 40% of Columbia Gas' Standard Choice Offer (SCO) rate and not the entire bill, as you might assume, it's not nearly as impressive. (The SCO is the portion of your bill that covers the cost of gas, and not the cost of transportation and service.) Similarly, a supplier might advertise savings of 30% off the Columbia Gas SCO for the first three months, followed by a variable rate each month adjusted for current market prices. So your 30% savings may change a lot when the variable rate starts. With any impressive offer, take a close look at the terms to get an accurate picture of the potential savings.
3) Compare the price
The most important common denominator for comparing costs and savings is the cost per hundred cubic feet (GCF). Use it to compare supplier offers to each other and to the Columbia Gas CCF rate. Each rate offers different risks and rewards:
Offers based on the price of gas:
Fixed rate – A fixed charge for each hundred cubic feet (CCF) for the length of the contract, regardless of whether gas prices go up or down.
Variable rate – The charge varies over the term of the contract. Consider how often it changes. Daily? Monthly? Quarterly? What triggers the change? Is there a cap that it can't exceed? Percentage off SCO Contract – A flat percentage off the Columbia Gas SCO rate.
Offers based on the total monthly bill:
Discount off the total monthly bill – A flat percentage off the total Columbia Gas bill, including both gas cost and base rate. Remember, the percentage may appear smaller, but it's taken off a larger total.
Other types of offers:
Flat dollar amount off monthly bill (not a percentage).
Up front incentive – The supplier offers a cash or merchandise incentive, usually awarded upon enrollment.
4) Compare the contract terms
Who bills you? How many bills will you receive? How long is the contract? How do you cancel? What happens if you move?
5) Compare the companies
What type of company do you prefer to do business with? Large or small? Ohio-based or a national firm? What sort of customer service reputation do they have? Are they committed to the local community?
6) Check other information
Additional information to help you choose wisely is available from Columbia Gas of Ohio and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. To contact them, use the phone numbers listed in this brochure. Remember that when you select a marketer, you are selecting a new partner with which you are doing business. Please take the time – as you would with any business decision – to know the product you are buying and the company supplying it.
7) Make your Choice
Once all your questions are answered, you can select the offer that best fits your needs. Then contact the supplier to inform them of your choice. You can enroll by phone (if you initiate the call), by returning a signed agreement mailed to you by the supplier, or by filling out an Internet enrollment feature on the suppliers web site. Either way, you'll need your Columbia Gas account number to enroll. And remember, if you decide to keep Columbia as your supplier, that's okay, too. It's your choice.
8) Start Saving
Saving is what we want for all of our customers. Any you can get started by choosing a supplier today. Go ahead and make your best choice.