Columbia of Ohio Choice Reaches Half a Million
One year after opening its entire Ohio territory to retail gas
supplier competition, Columbia Gas of Ohio said nearly 500,000
customers, or about one-third of those eligible, are buying gas
from marketers rather than the utility. Columbia serves 1.3 million
customers in the state.
Columbia's Customer CHOICE program was introduced in Toledo in
early 1997 and expanded statewide last fall. It is one of the
largest open access programs in the country, behind only Georgia in
the number of customers eligible and participating.
Columbia said yesterday that so far customers have saved more
than $32 million, or from 6% to 12% of the average monthly
residential bill. In Toledo, savings have reached $12.5 million and
50% of the eligible customers are participating. There are 31
active suppliers competing.
"The results show that consumers are responding enthusiastically
to the opportunity to comparison shop for energy the way they shop
for other goods and services - what we call economic democracy,"
said CEO Robert C. Skaggs Jr. "What's even more remarkable is that
we've achieved outstanding results despite a series of extremely
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