Gas service is now safe in Southington
By RON SELAK JR.
SOUTHINGTON — About 120 natural gas customers here at risk of losing service when their provider ran afoul of state regulations won’t see any disruption now that the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has given permission to One Source Energy to transfer its assets.
The commission’s ruling Wednesday affirms an earlier recommendation to approve the transfer from One Source in Niles to Northeast Ohio Natural Gas Corp., which bought the assets for $150,000.
Wednesday’s PUCO determination means “gas service to all of One Source’s customers will remain flowing,” said PUCO spokesman Matt Schilling. “It will not be shut off.”
NEO Gas Corp. will notify affected customers of the change. The company, which has offices in Orwell, Mentor, Pleasantville and Strasburg, serves about 30,000 customers in 17 counties in Ohio as far west as Defiance County and as far south as Hocking and Washington counties, according to a service map on the company’s website.
PUCO in August ordered One Source to stop providing natural gas to the Southington residents after determining the company was not capable of adequately operating the system. One Source was trying to resolve its issues with the state but decided instead to sell.
Two days before the Sept. 6 deadline to stop service, One Source and NEO Gas Corp. asked for a time extension due a tentative asset purchase agreement between the companies.
PUCO agreed and temporarily halted its order to Dominion Ohio Energy to discontinue the gas supply.
One Source and NEO Gas Corp. filed a joint asset transfer application Oct. 30.
One Source’s trouble began when the commission in September 2017 reported the company was providing gas to about 19 customers without permission and its application was incomplete. The company also did not provide financial information after repeated requests, failed to acknowledge or correct alleged violations from two safety inspections and failed to appear at commission hearings.
One Source filed an application to operate and for tariff approval in May 2016.
It had until Aug. 9 to pay a $25,000 fine and file documents to prove to the commission it had “adequate managerial, technical and financial capability” to provide the utility as well as financial assurances well enough to protect customers, according to a previous commission order.
It paid the fine and filed a number of documents with the commission by the deadline, but after review, the commission staff believed the company still had not proved it was fit to run the utility. One Source asked for the $25,000 to be refunded, but the commission did not act on the request.