CEA Case Study – DEO Rate Classifications

A Senior Assisted Living facility located in Northeast Ohio within the Dominion East Ohio (DEO) natural gas utility region reached out to Community Energy Advisors (CEA) for a review of their natural gas account. The client was using approximately 2,240 Mcf a year and being billed under DEO’s Large Volume General Service (LVGSS) rate classification.

Background

DEO is a natural gas utility serving primarily the Northeast and Eastern Central regions of Ohio. For billing purposes, DEO divides their non-residential general service customers into two rate classifications: General Sales Service – Nonresidential (GSS-NR) and LVGSS. GSS-NR customers are defined as nonresidential customers using less than 3,000 Mcf annually. All larger volume users are assigned to LVGSS. Large volume users typically pay higher utility costs, specifically fixed monthly charges, such as the monthly service charge and Pipeline Infrastructure Replacement (PIR) Cost Recovery Charge.

Annually, DEO reviews its nonresidential accounts to determine if annual usage has exceed 3,000 Mcf. Accounts above the threshold are automatically transferred to the LVGSS classification and begin paying the higher fixed costs the following month and must remain LVGSS for at least 12 months. However, if a previously defined LVGSS account drops below 3,000 Mcf, it is not automatically returned to GSS-NR service. It is the customer’s responsibility to call DEO and request a review of their classification in order to have the transition back to GSS-NR completed.

Findings

The Senior Assisted Living facility had previously used in excess of 3,000 Mcf, resulting in their classification as LVGSS, but had since decreased to their current annual level of 2,240 Mcf. The customer was unaware that they were classified incorrectly or that they could request a review of their account.

Resolution & Impact

CEA was able to call DEO and request an account review on behalf of the Assisted Living facility. CEA’s analysis and findings were confirmed and the client was returned to GSS-NR service on their next billing cycle.

CEA has estimated an annual savings of $1,304 for the client as a result of the reclassification, $1,081 of which is related solely to the fixed monthly service charge and Rider PIR.