New Rate for the Natural Gas Aggregation Program 2016-17 is a fixed rate of $2.97 per Mcf*
The City of Wadsworth announces that the rate for City of Wadsworth residents and businesses participating in its gas aggregation program for the coming year has been set at a fixed rate of $2.97 per MCF. "We are particularly pleased to be able to offer our residents a fixed rate that is 8% less than last year's," said Director of Public Service Robert Patrick.
The new pricing will begin with the November 2016 billing cycle (appearing on the December bill) and continue through October 2017. "We are appreciative of the work our aggregation provider, American Municipal Power, has done in securing competitive rates, year after year, " said Mr. Patrick. "The City of Wadsworth’s aggregation pricing has consistently been one of the lowest in the area and has seen a significant drop in price from the $4.53 rate of five years ago."
As it has been for the past several years, the City’s aggregate program supplier will be Interstate Gas Supply. Current customers of the City of Wadsworth Aggregation program with IGS do not need to take any action to receive the new reduced price and will receive notification of the new price by mail, within the next several weeks.
City of Wadsworth residents who are currently enrolled with other gas suppliers may call IGS at 1-800-280-4474, to sign up for the City's aggregation program but should note that IGS customer service may not yet have information on the new pricing. Though the new pricing is not in effect until November's gas usage (December's bill), there is a lag time in pricing for any new enrollment. New customers may find it beneficial to sign up now (under the current $3.23/mcf pricing) to be sure to have that $2.97 pricing in November. Residents should also be aware that switching from another supplier may result in a penalty and that they should check with their current supplier first. Information on gas pricing options may be found at the Ohio Consumers' Counsel website at http://www.occ.ohio.gov/gas/choice.shtml.
Under aggregation, 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 that includes the gas supply charge. Customers should still contact Dominion regarding loss of gas service, odor of gas, or any other concerns or issues having to do with local service. Budget billing and automatic billing options also are handled through Dominion.
Dominion East Ohio customers living in Wadsworth who are currently on the City of Wadsworth aggregation pricing plan should automatically be enrolled in the new pricing of $2.97, unless they opt-out. Those customers will receive a letter outlining the opt-out process (should they choose to do so), near the middle of September.
Dominion East Ohio customers living in Wadsworth who have not chosen an outside supplier on their own will be automatically enrolled in the new pricing of $2.97, unless they opt-out. Those customers will receive a letter outlining the opt-out process (should they choose to do so), near the middle of September.
* IGS customer service may not yet be aware of this pricing but should be able to sign up new customers at the City's current rate of $3.23. The new $2.97 price would then begin with November's gas (December bill).
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and Ohio Consumers Counsel websites offer apples to apples comparisons of natural gas suppliers and current prices. City of Wadsworth is a certified natural gas aggregator. The City became a Natural Gas aggregator at the request of voters in the election of November 2002. Being a certified Natural Gas Aggregator essentially means the State of Ohio Public Utilities Commission allows the City to act as an agent in the purchase of Natural Gas for residents and businesses. American Municipal Power (AMP) is the agent for the City of Wadsworth in this process. Essentially, the City uses the buying power of many to negotiate pricing on behalf of residents and businesses. Currently, the supplier for the City of Wadsworth is Interstate Gas Supply, Inc. .
SOME KEY TIPS TO PREPARE FOR WINTER INCLUDE ......
- Evaluate the insulation in the attic and around the ducts. A significant amount of energy is lost when heat is allowed to escape. Knowing the amount and type of insulation currently in the home will determine whether more or a higher "R-value" insulation is needed.
- Fix any cracks or holes in or around walls, ceilings, windows and electrical outlets. A significant amount of heat can escape if cracks or holes are not repaired.
- Clean or replace the furnace filter. Depending on the furnace model, a consumer may need to change the filter on a regular basis, possibly each month. Consumers should follow the instructions from the manufacturer of the furnace or filter system. A clean filter will likely improve both the air flow and the efficiency of the furnace.
- Clean registers, baseboard heaters and radiators. In addition, be sure that furniture, drapes or other objects are not blocking where the heat enters a room.
- Consider purchasing a programmable thermostat. These thermostats, which often range in price from$30 to $100, are a convenient way to ensure that a home is heated on a pre-set schedule. They store six or more settings per day, enabling the thermostat to automatically drop the termperature when everyone is asleep or no one is in the home. Some programmable thermostats are not efficient when used with heat pumps, so be sure to find an appropriate model.
- Make the fireplace more efficient. Purchases that will help improve the use of a fireplace include tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system. The glass doors help control the fire and how air moves up the chimney. An exchange system works to blow warm air back into the room. If you never use the fireplace, consider plugging and sealing the chimney flue.
Consumers should expect heating bills to be high this winter, so it is important to explore home improvement projects now that have the potential to provide short and long-term energy savings.
CONSUMERS HAVE OPTIONS FOR PAYMENT ASSISTANCE
With colder temperatures around the corner, many Ohioans are exploring options so they will stay warm during the winter heating season. The Office of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio offers information to help consumers stay connected this winter.
Budget billing programs allow consumers who are current on their payments to spread the amount they owe over a 12-month period. Consumers should contact their gas (Domion East Ohio Gas) company to inquire about how to participate.
When facing disconnection, consumers can propose to the company a payment plan that works best for them. Contact Dominion East Ohio to arrange such a payment plan.
HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (HEAP)
HEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). It is designed to help eligible low-income Ohioans meet the high costs of home heating. In most cases, HEAP issues a one-time credit to eligible parties energy supplier to be applied to their utility bill.
PERCENTAGE OF INCOME PAYMENT PLAN PLUS (PIPP Plus)
PIPP Plus allows eligible customers to make affordable monthly energy payments on a year-round basis. When a PIPP Plus household pays its monthly PIPP Plus payment on-time and in-full, some of their old debt and the rest of that month’s bill goes away in the form of a credit on their utility account.
WINTER CRISIS PROGRAM
A special component of HEAP, the Winter Crisis Program (WCP), is administered by community action agencies throughout Ohio. The WCP provides assistance once per heating season to eligible low-income households that are disconnected, threatened with disconnection or have less than a 10-day supply of bulk fuel. For further information, contact your local community action agency.
HOME WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (HWAP)
HWAP : Ohio's Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) is a federally funded low-income residential energy efficiency program. The program reduces low-income households' energy use, thus creating more affordable housing for those in most need. Services include attic, wall and basement insulation; blower-door-guided air leakage reduction; heating system repairs or replacements; and health and safety testing and inspections. All measures are provided based on an on-site energy audit and on cost-effective guidelines developed using the NEAT computerized energy audit. Individualized client education is an important component of the program.
DOMINION EAST OHIO ENERGYSHARE PROGRAM
The Dominion East Ohio EnergyShare program is designed to provide fuel assistance to pay for any type of winter heating bill. To qualify for the program, customers must live within the Dominion service territory, must demonstrate a personal or family crisis and is a program of last resort. An individual must a have a termination notice or have service currently terminated. To receive assistance, the applicant must have their name on the utility account or live at the listed residence. Applications are available after December 31. For more information, contact your local Salvation Army or Dominion East Ohio at (800) 362-7557.
The HeatShare programs are administered by the Salvation Army to help qualifying households pay for natural gas bills. These programs typically run from January until May, or until funds are depleted. For more information about the HeatShare program or to receive assistance, please contact your local Salvation Army.
EXTENDED PAYMENT PLANS
PUCO-regulated gas and electric companies have the following extended payment plans available to help you to make affordable payments and maintain service:
- The one-third plan, or Winter Heating Season Plan, is only offered from November 1 to April 15 and requires you to pay 1/3 of your total account balance each month.
- The one-sixth plan requires you to pay six equal monthly payments on your past due amount in addition to your current monthly bill.
- The one-ninth plan requires you to pay nine equal monthly payments on your past due amount in addition to your current monthly bill.
These plans are available to all residential customers regardless of income. For more information, contact your utility company. You may also call the PUCO toll-free: Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., EST:
(800) 686-PUCO (7826) (voice)
Some utility companies may offer other emergency assistance plans. For more information, please contact your utility company.
ENERGY ASSISTANCE FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES
The Patriot Plan, a program providing protections and benefits to military personnel and their families, can assist qualifying customers with maintaining utility service while serving on active duty. Under the plan, Ohio’s natural gas and electric utilities cannot disconnect the residential utility service of any military reservist or National Guardsman deployed on active duty for nonpayment.
Upon return from active duty, utility companies must offer customers a period of time equal to the length of their deployment to pay any arrearages that may have accumulated. Additional time may be requested by a customer if the amount in arrearages presents a hardship. Utility companies are also prohibited from charging any late payment fees or interest to qualifying customers during the period of deployment or the repayment period.
The Patriot Plan does not apply to career active-duty military personnel serving their regular tour of duty. For additional information regarding this benefit, contact your local utility company or the PUCO at (800) 686-PUCO (7826).