PRESS RELEASE 3.10.21 | City of Columbiana Pursues Remedies for Increase in Natural Gas Bills

City of Columbiana: Current participants of the City of Columbiana natural gas aggregation program will see an increase in their bill from Volunteer Energy Services Inc. for natural gas consumed during the February usage period, and the City of Columbiana is pursuing remedies to the situation.

Volunteer Energy Services Inc., is the competitive retail gas supplier that provides the natural gas that is delivered to the aggregation participants. Volunteer Energy has already begun to send out the March bills, which include an additional charge of $0.091 per Ccf. Volunteer Energy’s rationale for the increased charge is that, due to the extreme cold during the period of Feb.5-Feb. 20, 2021, they were forced to purchase significant quantities of natural gas from the spot market to meet increased customer demand and that the cost of those purchases was significantly higher than normal. Volunteer Energy has stated that this additional increase in rate would be for one month only.

As the natural gas program aggregator for customers in the City of Columbiana, the City of Columbiana does not agree that Volunteer Energy has the ability to increase customers’ rates in this manner. After a preliminary review, the City of Columbiana believes that this is a breach of its contract and is reviewing options to take the necessary steps to protect program participants, including obtaining refunds to those customers for all bills that have been paid.

The City of Columbiana is working with AMPO, Inc., the City of Columbiana administrator of the natural gas aggregation program, to take the appropriate actions in concert with the City of Columbiana. These actions will include pursuing remedies to ensure that participants are made whole.