Ohio residents can now shop for natural gas at the same place they might for a mint-condition Jim Brown rookie trading card after marketer MXenergy announced last week that it has opened bidding for natural gas on the Internet auction behemoth eBay.

Ohioans served by Columbia Gas or Dominion East Ohio can outbid their neighbors for a chance to set their own price for a year’s supply of natural gas. Noting that its first auction starts at “just $10,” the natural gas and electricity marketer, which serves nearly half a million customers in Texas, Georgia, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts and Canada, said high bidders will need to enroll with the company to receive their rate.

“This online auction will ’empower’ bidders to set their own rate for natural gas and help manage energy costs,” explained MXenergy CEO Jeffrey Mayer. “As homeowners struggle with a tightening economy and skyrocketing energy costs, MXenergy is offering a unique way for them to set their own price for natural gas.”

An auction that ended Thursday in the Columbia Gas service area recorded 14 bids with a winning bid of $103.01, which will be used to calculate the rate per hundred cubic feet. MXenergy said it will divide the final bid price by 100 to determine the rate at which the high bidders can purchase his or her gas supply from MXenergy during a 12-month term within the Columbia Gas of Ohio territory.

An auction that ended late Thursday afternoon in the Dominion East Ohio service area drew 13 bidders with a winning bid of $10.60. In this auction the $10.60 is the rate per Mcf that the winning bidder can lock in for 12 months with MXenergy.

MXenergy noted that local distribution company (LDC) delivery charges and all local taxes are not included. “Please disregard the ‘free shipping’ eBay icon. And ignore the ‘local pick-up’ reference; your local LDC will deliver your natural gas,” the marketer quipped.

Pricing is explained on the auction site and can be accessed at www.mxenergy.com/eBay. If the final bid price exceeds MXenergy’s current 12 month fixed rate, the excess will be donated to an Ohio charity.

“We want our customers to take control of their home energy spend and make the best energy choices, and there’s no better way to exercise that control by asking consumers to set the price they’ll pay — in a very out-of-the box way,” added Mayer.

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