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No, by law there are certain limitations on eligibility. All of the current participants in our community’s program will receive a notice of the new program rates, terms and conditions and continue to be eligible. Newly eligible residents or businesses must be located within the community limits. Furthermore, they must have received an Opt-Out Notice from Volunteer Energy. Here are the criteria for new member eligibility:
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Volunteer Energy was selected to serve our community’s program through October 31, 2024 billing period. Volunteer Energy is certified by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, and currently supplies customers and Governmental Aggregation Programs across Ohio.
The fixed rate for natural gas is $3.177/Mcf through October31, 2024. Unlike many offers, our program has no penalty if you decide to leave early.
Simply put, it’s the entire community joining together to form one large buying group. By voting to allow an aggregation, residents allow their community to shop for natural gas on their behalf.
When residents form one large buying group they have more buying power. The aggregation is in a better position to negotiate favorable pricing and supply terms than what could ordinarily be achieved by any one individual resident.
In Ohio there are two types of Aggregations. A community may conduct an “Opt-Out” program or an “Opt-In” program. With Opt-Out programs, each eligible resident is automatically enrolled in the program unless they notify the supplier that they do not wish to participate. With Opt-In programs, each resident must notify the supplier to actively enroll in the program. Opt-Out Aggregations are the most common types of aggregation programs, because they result in higher participation that usually results in lower rates.
For starters, a community must obtain the approval of voters to form a natural gas aggregation program. Community leaders are then permitted to proceed through a series of steps to become certified by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio as a Governmental Natural Gas Aggregator.
With the assistance of a PUCO certified consultant, a community seeks bids from Certified Retail Natural Gas Service Providers. A qualified bidder is selected to supply the aggregation with its gas for a set period of time. An “Opt-Out” Notice is sent to each eligible community resident prior to the start of the aggregation. Each resident has 21 days from the postmarked date on the notice to contact the supplier to withdraw or “Opt-Out” of the program. After the 21-day period, any resident not opting out will be submitted to the utility company for enrollment in the program. The utility company will send notice of the pending enrollment to each participating resident. Each resident will then have 7 days to rescind their enrollment in the program by contacting the utility company. After the 7-day rescission period, all participating customers are officially enrolled in the program. The new supplier will appear on your natural gas bill within one to two billing cycles after enrollment is verified by the utility.
Dominion Energy Ohio (DEO) will continue to deliver your natural gas and maintain the pipeline system that brings it to your home or business. You will continue to call DEO 877-542-2630 for emergency repairs or gas leaks. For non-emergencies such as billing questions, service turn on or turn off, call 800-362-7557.
Nothing. Enrollment in the program is free and you need not take any action. You only need to be eligible to participate. Please refer to the eligibility criteria shown below.
Customer switching takes place when meters are read. Therefore, your start date will depend on when DEO reads your meter. Your service from Volunteer Energy is expected to begin with your December 2020 billing period.
The community’s Governmental Aggregation Program can go on indefinitely. The new rate of 3.177/Mcf from Volunteer Energy is a four (4) year fixed rate and will end with your November 2024 billing period.
While most residents will remain in, and benefit from Governmental Aggregation Programs, the choice is up to you. If you do not want to participate you will have 21 days in which to return a reply card to Volunteer Energy or call them toll free at 800-977-8374. If you fail to do that, Volunteer Energy will enroll you as a new customer. DEO will then acknowledge the enrollment and send you a confirmation letter reminding you of the pending switch. That letter will mention that you can cancel the switch by contacting DEO within 7 days.
No. For your convenience, you will continue to receive only one bill from DEO. It will show DEO’s delivery charges and the supply charge amount owed Volunteer Energy. DEO continues to read your meter, issue monthly bills and responds to all service calls.
Yes. If you are on budget billing, you will remain on budget billing.
Note: DEO calculates your monthly budget amount each month by summing your total delivered gas cost on a rolling 12-month basis and dividing that total by average monthly usage in the same 12-month period.
Yes. A very attractive feature of our program is your ability to leave free of charge at any time for any reason. There are several “formal” opportunities to take yourself out of the program. First, when an offer is presented you will have 21-days to Opt-Out by returning a card to Volunteer Energy or making a toll-free phone call. If you do not Opt-Out DEO will then send a confirmation notice giving you 7 more days to cancel the switch. Furthermore, by law, you will be able to leave without penalty at least every two years. If you would like to choose another supplier or return to the utility company supply, notify Volunteer Energy at 800-977-8374. If you leave the program it may take one to two utility billing cycles before the switch appears on your utility bill.
Natural gas prices are highly volatile. Market rates change often and quickly. Price differences between communities will vary based primarily on the contract term and the dates on which pricing was secured for the community.
Yes. During the initial enrollment, any eligible resident that does not receive an Opt-Out Notice may contact Volunteer directly at 800-977-8374 to enroll in the program.
Volunteer Energy will always try to accommodate residents should they wish to enroll after the initial enrollment period. However, Volunteer reserves the right to decline late enrollments depending on market conditions.
Yes, however your supplier may charge an early termination fee. All residents should check the terms and conditions of their current contract for more information.
A resident moving within the same community can stay in the aggregation by providing Volunteer with their new address. If a resident moves out of the community or does not provide Volunteer their new address, their participation will end and no early termination fee will apply.
The programs are similar but totally independent. The electric and gas programs have different suppliers and are on different time lines. You do not have to belong to one to participate in the other.
We have retained Independent Energy Consultants, Inc., a PUCO certified broker and aggregator of electric and natural gas, without using any taxpayer money. They have designed, implemented, and administered similar successful gas and electric programs that impact over 100 communities across Ohio. We will have their assistance and that of Volunteer Energy throughout the program.
Volunteer’s customer service department is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. You may call them toll free at 800-977-8374.
If you have additional questions please call Volunteer Energy at 1-800-977-8374, weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. For general information on natural gas deregulation in Ohio, you can also visit the Web Sites of the Ohio Consumer’s Counsel, or the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Note: Please do not contact our offices. We are pleased to have made this program possible, but are not prepared to handle calls.