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As temperatures begin to cool in Ohio, many homeowners are evaluating their options for heating their homes with natural gas. They may be interested in switching to a new supplier, or simply looking for the best deals on fixed-rate plans. Consumers should take the time to shop rates side-by-side and find a plan that best fits their needs.

Ohio is a deregulated energy state, meaning that the public utilities commission (PUCO) allows residents to choose where they purchase their gas and electricity. There are more energy suppliers in a deregulated market than in regulated states, increasing competition and giving consumers more choices. Consumers should be aware that just because a provider is cheaper, doesn’t mean they are the greenest choice.

Regardless of who you purchase your energy from, your local utility company will continue to deliver and perform maintenance on local power lines and gas pipelines. Most consumers are not even aware that they have a choice of suppliers, but there are over 130 gas providers that offer competitive prices for residential customers.

The most popular way to get your ohio natural gas rates is through a third-party supplier. Before deregulation, the utilities controlled your service and rates, allowing them to recover their expenses and earn a set profit margin. After deregulation, you can decide where your utility buys the gas it will deliver to your home and can select a new supplier for your home gas supply.

Many of the third-party energy suppliers offer a range of products, including fixed-rate plans that offer price stability over a contract term. While they are more expensive than the cheapest regulated utility supply rate, they also tend to have lower administrative and delivery fees. If you are unsure of what type of product to purchase, consult with an experienced broker for advice.

Choosing a gas supplier is a complex process, especially for newcomers to the market. The simplest way to compare offers is through the PUCO’s Apples to Apples tool, which lists each supplier’s current prices for residential customers in their respective service areas. This tool is updated daily and provides an excellent snapshot of what is available in your area.

The cheapest natural gas is often found in late spring and early autumn, when demand for the commodity is low because of cooler weather. This is when you can expect to see the lowest price per cubic foot of natural gas. When shopping for a new supplier, you should be sure to read all the terms and conditions carefully. Beware of hidden fees and cancellation policies that could affect your overall bill. You should also pore over the terms of any plan you’re considering, particularly its length and billing cycle. The most transparent providers will list all charges and fees clearly in their documents. Ideally, you should choose a plan that will be consistent with your existing energy usage and budget. If you do have to make changes to your current usage, it’s a good idea to let your supplier know ahead of time.

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