The natural gas industry offered choice for residential consumers in Ohio for the first time in 1997. Nearly 50,000 customers participated in the pilot program offered by Columbia Gas of Ohio and saved approximately $4 million in natural gas costs. By the end of the year, choice was also offered to customers of Dominion East Ohio Gas and Cincinnati Gas & Electric.
The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel was active in educating consumers around the state about the new choice program. A survey conducted by OCC in November 1997 showed that 98 percent of respondents knew about the choice programs and 69 percent of participants felt they had saved money.
The following year, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio expanded the pilot programs and nearly 1.8 million Ohioans had the opportunity to choose their natural gas supplier. By 2002, choice became available to customers of Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio completing choice programs for all major natural gas companies in Ohio.
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