Ohio Energy Aggregator Volunteer Energy Files For Bankruptcy Protection; what happens to customers?

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PICKERINGTON, Ohio – More than 200,000 households in Ohio will have a new energy provider after a large aggregator files for bankruptcy protection, according to the PUCO. But residents will not lose service.

Volunteer Energy Services filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection end of March and dumping customers because of it, according to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. The company is an aggregator for 139 local governments and supplies both natural gas and electricity. Ohio customers can also choose Volunteer as their provider.

The Pickerington-based company made just over $19 million in Ohio sales in 2020, records show. It defaulted on about $12.6 million in payments to energy providers, according to PUCO.

Due to Ohio law, distribution companies like Ohio Edison, Dominion of Columbia Gas must be the supplier of last resort. Thus, volunteer clients will not lose service. They will, however, be assigned to their local public service.

PUCO said Volunteer customers may soon receive a notice that they have placed the default bid from their electric or natural gas utility. They can buy a new one.

FirstEnergy subsidiaries like Ohio Edison and Cleveland Electric Illuminating filed a notice Friday saying they would switch customers from Volunteer Energy and to default. The same goes for Dominion and Columbia, the two largest natural gas distributors in the Greater Cleveland area.

Volunteer does not have aggregations in Cuyahoga County but does in Medina and Stark counties. Municipalities will be able to choose a new aggregator in the future, but customers will be transferred to the default provider at this stage. Readers can find a full list of his aggregations at puco.ohio.gov/news/volunteer-chapter11.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used by businesses to reorganize their assets and debts. This does not mean that a company will necessarily go bankrupt or cease to exist.

People with questions can contact the PUCO call center at 1 (800) 686-7826 or contact the commission online at puco.ohio.gov/help-center/contact-us.

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