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Going Once, Going Twice: Ohio Standard [Energy] Choice Auctions 101

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If your business is located in Ohio, you may be hearing some buzz regarding the standard choice offer (SCO) auction. SCO auctions can be a confusing concept and you may be asking, “What does this mean for me and my business?”

Every year, some Ohio utilities conduct auctions to secure natural gas supplies for customers who do not participate in the gas choice program. Let us break it down for you:

  • The suppliers that place the lowest bids in the auction are selected to provide natural gas that is needed to serve non-choice program customers.
  • The auction establishes an SCO rate for a 12-month period.
  • This price is variable, meaning it will change from month to month based on changes in the natural gas pricing market.
  • The price reflects the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) monthly settlement price for natural gas plus a retail price adjustment that’s reviewed and approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).
  • Each non-choice program customer is assigned to a supplier based on the auction results, and that supplier’s name will appear on their natural gas bill.
  • Each SCO customer will pay the same monthly rate as other SCO customers no matter whom their SCO supplier is.
  • The local utility will continue to provide its current services, such as billing, meter reading, emergency response, and answering bill and service questions.

Small business customers have the option to stay in this auction pool with the supplier assigned to them, or to choose Direct Energy Business or another retail energy supplier and enroll with a price protection plan. Energy rates can be unpredictable with market changes, but with a fixed natural gas rate from Direct Energy Business, your supply rate doesn’t have to.

If you are a current SCO customer and would like to avoid rate volatility, check out our fixed rates.

Get more information on Standard Choice Auctions.

Is your home account also a part of the auction? View our residential rates.


Stephen Girard, Head of Small Business at Direct Energy Business, has worked in the energy industry for 10 years and started heading up Small Business in November 2013. 

Posted: March 26, 2015