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Dominion East Ohio says shale gas will help keep prices moderate this winter in Northeast Ohio

Cleveland-based Dominion East Ohio expects increased production from the Utica and Marcellus shale in Ohio and nearby states to provide ample supplies of natural gas at moderate prices this winter.

“Once again, customers can set their thermostats with confidence this winter,” said Jeff Murphy, general manager — commercial operations.

He said natural gas prices for the remainder of the winter heating season could be lower than those of last winter, when repeated polar vortexes drove Dominion East Ohio’s Standard Service Offer (SSO) and Standard Choice Offer (SCO) rates to more than $6 per thousand cubic feet in February.

Murphy said the arrival of new regional shale natural gas supplies has helped limit market price increases for much of the year, despite increasing national demand.

For example, Dominion East Ohio’s December 2014 Standard Choice Offer rate is $4.712 per thousand cubic feet. The current rate is just 29.4 cents per thousand cubic feet higher than the December 2013 SCO/SSO rates of $4.418.

Related: Home heating costs projecting low this winter

He added, “Even though most weather forecasts are not calling for a return to repeated polar vortex events this winter, we’ve taken steps to ensure reliable natural gas deliveries to our 1.2 million customers. While market conditions are constantly changing, natural gas prices are expected to be moderate once again.

“One of the major drivers of our supply security is increasing natural gas production right here in Ohio,” he said in a news release. “Even though demand continues to grow, as more natural gas is used for electric generation and our economy continues to recover, production increases have kept a lid on prices. If our winter weather returns to more normal temperatures, customers may also see a decrease in their bills because of lower usage as well.”

The company strongly urged customers who know they will be unable to maintain regular payments to contact Dominion East Ohio at 800-362-7557 to inquire about payment plans and energy assistance programs. The call center is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. For more information, go to www.dom.com.