Some Dublin residents will have a new natural-gas provider in the fall.

Some Dublin residents will have a new natural-gas provider in the fall.

Dublin economic development director Dana McDaniel said the city and its consortium partners have suspended an aggregation program that offered natural gas to residents at fixed prices because more choices are now available to consumers.

"Now with the market being as low as it is and there being more choice for providers out there, we as a consortium said, 'It's not necessarily the local government's role to be involved in this,' " he said. "When we got involved our voters wanted it because we didn't have a lot of choice."

The consortium was created to offer residents more choices on who provided their natural gas. In Dublin, residents were automatically enrolled in the program that offered fixed prices the consortium negotiated with providers.

Residents could opt out of the program at no cost.

Dublin residents had realized cost savings with the natural-gas consortium until recently, when McDaniel said the market dipped.

The consortium was criticized last December when its prices were more expensive than other providers such as Columbia Gas.

In December, Dublin residents enrolled in the program were paying $1.12 per 100 cubic feet of natural gas compared to the 69 cents per 100 cubic feet being charged by Columbia Gas from Nov. 25 to Dec. 29.

According to McDaniel, Dublin and the other members of the Central Ohio Public Energy Council -- Bexley, Gahanna, Grandview Heights and Upper Arlington -- notified Dublin-based IGS Energy and American Municipal Power of Ohio last week that the program would be suspended. The gas had been provided by IGS through American Municipal Power.

Residents will not have to find another natural gas provider right away, though.

"The current program runs through Oct. 31," McDaniel said. "There will be two months of transition before we are completely done with the program."

Dublin will notify residents enrolled in the natural-gas program in August on what will happen to their accounts and what will be their options.

"They would either go back to Columbia Gas or they would be able to make other arrangements," McDaniel said.

No matter what provider residents choose, McDaniel urged people to look around before making a choice.

"We've always emphasized that we wanted residents to have a choice and be in the position to have a choice," he said.

For more information from the city, look online at Dublin.oh.us. Residents also can look at price comparisons at puco.ohio.gov/ Puco/ApplesToApples/NaturalGas.cfm?id=4594.