Your questions, answered

COLUMBIA GAS POSTCARD FAQ

Did you receive a postcard from Columbia Gas about switching natural gas suppliers, similar to the one below?

If you have received this postcard and are confused about what it means, please keep reading.

Columbia Gas of Ohio sends a version of this postcard to every customer who changes natural gas suppliers. Natural gas supply is separate from your utility – Columbia Gas will still be your natural gas utility company, continuing to provide billing and service.

If you signed up directly for gas from Volunteer Energy, you will get this postcard. If you do not believe you signed up with Volunteer Energy, you are most likely part of a community aggregation program.

Community aggregations enable local governments to negotiate on behalf of their community for the best natural gas or electricity rate. All of these programs must be voted on and passed by a majority of voters in a general election. You also should have received multiple communication pieces from both your local government and Volunteer Energy about the change.

Most of these programs are “opt-out”, where you are automatically enrolled unless you choose to opt out. Every eligible resident was mailed a letter from Volunteer Energy with an included opt-out form prior to the effective date of the program. You can also call 800-977-8374 to speak directly with a Volunteer Energy representative to opt out or have any questions answered.

Even if you have already been enrolled, you can choose to opt out of the program at any time by calling 800-977-8374.

But remember, by opting out, you will be missing out on the exclusive rate your community leaders negotiated for you. And when you remain in the program, the only thing that changes is the rate you pay for your energy supply.

Your utility company remains the same, and billing and service are still handled by Columbia Gas. The only difference is that Volunteer Energy will be listed on your bill as your supplier, along with your negotiated rate. For more information, please see the additional FAQs below or read more about What Is Energy Aggregation.

What is governmental aggregation?
Under governmental aggregation, local officials are able to act on behalf of the community to negotiate a competitively priced natural gas rate from a certified natural gas supplier.

How is my community able to choose a natural gas supplier on behalf of residents? Who is eligible?

Residents of the community voted to give elected officials the ability to negotiate a natural gas supplier contract on behalf of the community. If you are a current participant in the aggregation program, you will receive notice of the new program rate, term, and conditions and will continue to be eligible. Newly eligible residents or businesses must receive an opt-out notice from Volunteer Energy and meet the following requirements:

  1. You must not already be enrolled with a natural gas supplier on your own.
  2. You must not be a PIPP (Percentage of Income Payment Program) customer.
  3. You must not be in arrears on your bill payment.
  4. Your service address must be located within the community.
  5. You must not be a commercial customer (business customer using over 500 Mcf/year).

What does 'opt out' mean?
“Opt-Out” means that you choose not to participate in the Aggregation Program. You can opt-out by returning the opt-out form included in your mailer, or by calling the phone number provided. If you opt-out, you will not be enrolled as a natural gas customer with Volunteer Energy and will not receive your community’s exclusive natural gas rate.

What happens if I do not send in the 'opt out' form?
If you do not return the opt-out form or call the phone number by the designated deadline, you be will automatically included in the Aggregation Program and receive the negotiated rate for natural gas from Volunteer Energy.

As a program participant, you will continue to receive your billing from your local utility. Volunteer Energy will simply be listed on the bill as your natural gas supplier along with your aggregation program exclusive rate.

Are there fees to enroll or cancel?
Enrollment in the program is free for eligible participants. Once enrolled in the program, you can cancel your agreement at any time without any fee.

Can I join the program after the initial enrollment period?
Yes. The community has secured the same natural gas supply rate, terms and conditions for eligible customers who wish to join its Aggregation Program after the initial enrollment period. This includes customers who move into the community, customers who were with another supplier and wish to switch into the program, or customers who initially opted-out and want to join at a later date.

What if I'm with another supplier and I want to join the aggregation program?
If you recently signed up with a natural gas supplier or if you believe you are on an older contract, carefully review the terms and conditions of that agreement before proceeding, as your ability to terminate early with that supplier may be restricted and could include cancellation fees.

What happens at the end of the term?
At the end of the term, the community will rebid the term and price on behalf of residents. You will be notified of the outcome by the community and/or supplier of the new term.

 

NATURAL GAS + ELECTRICITY