The city has locked in a fixed rate with natural gas provider Direct Energy to take some of the burn out of heating costs.
City officials and Direct Energy have negotiated a fixed rate of $0.996 per ccf, compared to last year's rate of $0.999 per ccf.
Through the program, "Sandusky residents and small businesses can protect themselves from surging heating costs," said Yvette Hamilton, spokeswoman for Direct Energy.
"By locking in a rate with Direct Energy, we're able to help city residents and small businesses avoid upswings in heating costs, especially during the winter when the typical household uses more than 70 percent of its annual natural gasconsumption," said Interim City Manager Don Miears in a news release. "Now, participating consumers can budget their energy costs because they know ahead of time what the rate will be. We appreciate Direct Energy's willingness to work closely with us to achieve competitive pricing in an uncertain natural gas market, and we're encouraging consumers to enroll."
This is the second year of a two-year agreement the city has with Direct Energy. The program began in December 2006 and will end in November 2008, Hamilton said.
Current Sandusky gas aggregation customers of Direct Energy will automatically be switched to the new rate.
Residents not enrolled will be receiving a mailing from Direct Energy and will have until Nov. 9 to enroll.
Customers who chose to enroll will continue to be billed by Columbia Gas of Ohio, the local gas utility. The Direct Energy charges will be listed on the bill.
The new fixed rate excludes utility charges and taxes.