5 Clark County townships set for new natural gas supplier

Deadline to opt out of voter-approved aggregation program is Tuesday.

Residents and businesses in five Clark County townships will be part of an agreement to switch natural gas suppliers in December, a program that officials said offers customers predictable pricing.

The Natural Gas Aggregation Program approved by voters in 2020 applies to Green, Harmony, Moorefield, Pleasant and Springfield townships.

Clark County commissioners have partnered with Dublin-based IGS Energy and sent opt-out letters to eligible residents earlier this month.

“Natural gas governmental aggregation allows eligible households and small businesses that participate the opportunity to group together to increase their purchasing power,” a county post about the program said.

No fees are charged to opt in or opt out of the program.

Residents in those five townships do not need to do anything to take part and will continue to pay their local utility provider, the county said.

They will receive a fixed rate of 0.615 per ccf through December 2025. The rate for residents currently in the program is 0.731 ccf under the agreement that expires Dec. 1.

If you wish to opt out of the program, call 1-877-353-0162. The opt-out period ends Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Columbia Gas will continue to deliver the natural gas. Delivery is a different charge than the supply cost.

Columbia Gas also will maintain the pipeline system for delivery, will continue to read the meter and will send a monthly bill that will include the gas supply charge from IGS Energy.

Consumers who lose service or have service issues still contact Columbia Gas for service.

Under governmental aggregation, Clark County acts on behalf of consumers in the community to negotiate a gas supply contract with eligible suppliers.

Bob Snavely is an energy consultant with Palmer Energy, which is Clark County’s aggregation operator. He said natural gas aggregation is different than electric aggregation. Electric offers an easy price to compare over a period of several months, while natural gas prices fluctuate from month to month.

“It changes literally every month,” Snavely said of natural gas rates through Columbia Gas and similar suppliers.

Getting into aggregation is like “you are buying an insurance policy,” he said.

Analysts look at current prices, market factors, historical data, weather patterns and more before securing aggregation agreements.

“For the consumer, it has to do with risk tolerance,” Snavely said.

For example, the Columbia Gas price is 0.496 per ccf this month, he said, “but we don’t know what the December, January and February prices will be.”

Consumers who can tolerate risks could opt out, remain with Columbia Gas and pay less initially.

However, “if there is a spike, you would have to ride that up,” Snavely said.

The question, Snavely said, is: Do you want the certainty of the aggregation price for the winter?

Extremely cold weather could push prices higher, or unusually warm weather could plunge prices, he said. Wars in other countries, such as Ukraine and Russia, change prices, too.

Springfield and New Carlisle city residents, plus those in Bethel, German, Mad River, Madison and Pike townships, are not eligible for the county aggregation program.

For more information, go to ClarkCountyOhio.gov

For more information about natural gas rates and aggregation:

EnergyChoice.Ohio.gov offers comparisons of suppliers.

IGS Energy offers a customer center at 877-353-0162, weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Columbia Gas Ohio is a subsidiary of NiSource.

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