SIDNEY — Residential customers who are participating in the natural gas aggregation programs in the communities of Sidney, Greenville, Bellefontaine, Russia, Fort Loramie, Bradford, Ansonia, Covington, Newberry Township, West Milton and Jeffersonville will see a refund check from Volunteer Energy at some point this summer. The refund is part of an agreement between AGE (Affordable Gas + Electric), the communities’ Consultant for their governmental aggregation programs, and Volunteer Energy to refund an over-charge that was on the March 2021 natural gas bills.
A notice letter from Volunteer Energy’s attorney dated March 1, 2021, stated “Volunteer Energy was required to purchase gas that was 8741% more expensive than its 1st of Month Posted Price.” The letter went on to state that an increase of $0.091/CCF would be passed through to their Ohio customers. The market price spikes in natural gas were a direct result of the polar vortex experienced by most of the nation from approximately February 5th to February 20th. Advance notice of this pass through charge for March bills was not provided to AGE. In an email from Volunteer Energy’s General Counsel, an apology was issued to AGE for leaving them as the managers of the aggregation program “unaware and unprepared when dealing with the communities you serve.”
According to AGE, the natural gas aggregation programs offer fixed rates specifically negotiated to avoid the sort of market price spikes many experienced across the country. This strategy is a major benefit to those participating in the natural gas aggregations.
“Volunteer Energy has been a valued and trusted partner for our natural gas aggregation programs,” said Jeff Haarmann, Managing Partner of AGE. “In reviewing our communities’ contracts Volunteer Energy agreed that our fixed rates should not have been subjected to the major price increases that impacted the market, and thus refunds were in order.”
Refunds will be sent via check to residents of record during the affected time period and will begin hitting the mail by Summer of 2021. For the average resident, the refund will likely be under $8, depending upon usage for the period.
Anyone with questions about the residential natural gas aggregation programs should contact AGE via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.