The Ohio Public Utility Commission reported that 280,000 retailconsumers are buying gas from alternative suppliers, a 25% increasesince September. The percentage of eligible customers participatingin the three utility customer choice programs has risen to 21%(34,644 residential and small commercial customers) on East OhioGas, 8% (30,979) on Cincinnati Gas & Electric and 17% (216,900)on Columbia Gas. In total, 24,127 commercial customers and 258,396residential customers are participating.

On Aug. 1, the PUC expanded the choice programs of all threeutilities to about two-thirds of the state. All current ColumbiaGas and CG&E customers and customers in 10 counties serviced byEast Ohio are eligible to switch suppliers with no switching fee.

The PUC said the hottest educational item has been its “Applesto Apples” price comparison charts, which provide customers with alist of the marketers currently selling gas inside each LDCs’citygate as well as the basic terms of their contracts and theprice of their contract offering. The charts also list theregulated gas prices of the LDC for comparison. Currently no otherstate engaged in unbundling provides such a comparison chart. Thechart is available at the PUC’s web site,

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