Health and Safety

Important Winter Information from Columbia Gas

The 2011-2012 winter heating season was, truly, one for the books, as last year marked the warmest winter in the 64 years Columbia Gas of Ohio has tracked temperatures. When partnered with decade low natural gas prices, many of our customers saw home heating bills that were extremely manageable.

This was great news for those struggling in difficult economic conditions. And while early projection for the 2012-2013 winter heating season call for a return to more normal temperatures, I’m happy to share that the low natural gas prices should help keep home heating bill manageable again this winter.

While natural gas costs remain low, a number that remains far too high is households qualifying for assistance, but failing to secure help. Recent census studies indicate that nearly 32 percent of Ohioans – approximately 3.5 million – qualify for some form of energy assistance; yet fewer than half receive help. This could be for any number of reasons: They weren’t aware of available programs; their economic situation has changed and they didn’t know that they may now qualify for help; or, they are unsure where to turn for help. Our hope is that, with your assistance, we can ensure these households find the help they need this winter.

In an effort to ensure that no one goes without heat this winter, we wanted to provide you some information as the 2012-2013 winter heating season approaches.

Natural Gas Costs

Several factors have contributed to help reduce the price of natural gas to near-decade lows, including: new production from large resources of natural gas in the continental United States, near-record gas storage levels, the tame 2011-2012 winter and a mild hurricane season. These factors provide a strong indication that natural gas prices should remain stable, with minimal possibility of a spike due to a cold snap, for the 2012-2013 winter heating season.

Winter Bill Projection

During the winter heating season, 72 percent of the average customer’s bill is the cost of the commodity: natural gas. The previously mentioned good news – natural gas prices near decade lows – should help offset increased household consumption should temperatures return to more normal levels. Additionally, customers will benefit from our levelized gas distribution rate structure again this winter. Customers are no longer exposed to a volumetric gas delivery charge during winter months, when demand and consumption are at their highest levels. These factors should allow consumers to enjoy bills that are easier on their household budgets.

Assistance with Bills

While natural gas prices should remain low and stable for the foreseeable future, we still understand that many of our customers are struggling with their entire household budgets.page1image24264page1image24536

There are several programs and options to share, however the first suggestion for every situation is: Contact Columbia Gas of Ohio at the first sign you may have trouble paying your bill. The sooner we hear about an issue or problem, the more options we can provide for assistance.

Interrupting someone’s service is always the last resort for Columbia Gas, and the company will work with customers to try to ensure service is not interrupted. Customers whose service is currently shut off, or those who are at risk to be shut off, should consider these options:

Payment Plans: Any Columbia Gas of Ohio customer who feels that they might have a problem paying their winter heating bills should call 1-800-344- 4077 for assistance in enrolling in a one-sixth, one-ninth or winter heating season payment plan that can make bills easier to handle.

Winter Reconnect Order: Customers whose service if off for non-payment or who have received disconnection notices can take advantage of this service, mandated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. No matter what amount is owed, service can be restored or maintained with a payment of $175 plus a small reconnection fee. More information is available at: www.PUCO.ohio.gov, or by calling 1-800-686-7826.

Winter Crisis Program: Beginning November 1, qualified low-income customers are eligible for the Emergency Home Energy Assistance Program, funds that can be used to pay the $175 Winter Reconnect Order. For more information, call the Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-282-0880. Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus): Households at or less than 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines may be eligible to pay just 6 percent of monthly income or $10, whichever is greater, for their gas bill year-round. If you were previously a PIPP customer, a co-payment of up to your entire PIPP defaulted amount may be required for you to enroll in PIPP Plus. For more information, call the Ohio Development Services Agency at 1-800-282-0880.

Fuel Funds: Columbia Gas of Ohio customers are encouraged to contact their local Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) agency to see if monies from the Fuel Funds program are still available. These funds are designated to assist households with incomes up 175 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level and are available until they are exhausted.

Budget Payment Plan: It’s not too late for customers who are current on their bill to enroll in Columbia’s Budget Payment Plan program, which spreads winter heating costs across the entire year. Enrollment options include: Enroll online at ColumbiaGasOhio.com – click on “Manage Your Account” and log in to enroll any time. Or call 1-800-344-4077 – select option 1 from the main menu and follow the appropriate prompts for information on the budget plan.

WarmChoice®: Columbia Gas offers an energy inspection and no cost weatherization through its WarmChoice program for customers with household income at or below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines. WarmChoice can reduce customer bills by an average of 30 percent. In addition, customers are left with safe gas heating equipment and a more comfortable home after weatherization is complete. For information go to ColumbiaGasOhio.com or contact the statewide referral service at 1-800-952- 3037 (WarmChoice weatherization calls only, please) to be directed to your local provider.

Home Performance Solutions: The Home Performance Solutions program offers rebates of up to 70 percent on qualified energy-efficiency improvements that can reduce a home’s annual energy consumption by 30 percent or more, saving up to $6,000 on utility bills over the life of the improvements. The program starts with a low cost home energy audit, a $500 value that costs only $50. Columbia’s rebates can be combined with Federal Energy Tax Credits, manufacturers’ rebates and other incentives to reduce overall costs even more. To schedule an energy audit or obtain more information about the program, Columbia customers should call 1-877-644- 6674.

November 6th Licking County Election Results

Results of the election via the Licking County Board of Elections can be found by clicking the link below.

11.6.12 ELECTION RESULTS

Beggar’s Night Still on as Scheduled

With the recent weather, we have been asked about Beggar’s Night. Though not an official Village event, Beggar’s Night is still scheduled for Wed. night, 6-7:30 pm.

2-1-1 Crisis/Hotline Available for Non-Emergency Calls

With the approaching storm, we would like remind everyone that the 2-1-1 Crisis/Hotline will be available for non-emergency calls. Please call 2-1-1 or 345-HELP (4357) as the contact to call for non-emergency information such as shelters, power outage information, etc. This can help reduce unnecessary calls to 9-1-1, Red Cross or the EMA.

Hurricane Sandy Information

Johnstown Village staff will be on alert as the remnants of Hurricane Sandy reach central Ohio. In the event of downed trees in the street, our crews will clear the trees from the road. If you see any streets blocked by downed trees, please call the Police Dispatch Office at 740-967-9911. Stay up to date with the Weather Channel as they cover this storm.

Village Council Approves Updated Strategic Plan

Johnstown Village Council approved an important update to the existing Strategic Plan at their September 18th meeting. Starting in 2011, the Village Planning & Zoning Commission embarked on an in-house update to the strategic plan. Working with the staff, the Planning & Zoning Commission went page by page through the existing Plan to determine the areas in need of updating. What started out as a quick review turned into a twelve month endeavor to produce an update that will guide future development in the years to come. The 2012 Strategic Plan (effective October 1, 2012) will provide a updated strategic approach to achieving the community’s vision by creating a plan for the physical development of the Village as well as general policy statements of how to get there. It is a guide for developers, landowners, concerned citizens, and elected officials as they make decisions about land. This information contained in this update must be used in conjunction with the previous Strategic Plan.

More information on planning and zoning in the Village can be found here.

Request for Qualifications – Civil Engineering Services

The Village of Johnstown, OH (4,632 population, located in Licking County, Ohio) seeks highly qualified firms to provide consultant civil engineering services.  Johnstown is experiencing steady growth and development with dynamic residential, commercial, and corporate activity.  The consultant civil engineer will provide supporting professional engineering services and the conservative use of Village resources to Village Council, Planning Commission, Administration and Service Departments. Deadline for the RFQ is October 8th at 5:00pm.

RFQ For Consultant Civil Engineer

Preventative Measures to Take Against West Nile Virus

All residents are encouraged to take the following prevention measures against WNV and other mosquito-borne infections:

To avoid possible infection from mosquito bites:

·         Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active; if you must be outdoors, be sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks.

·         Wear light colored clothing as mosquitoes are generally attracted to dark colors.

·         Use insect repellent and follow the label directions.

To eliminate mosquito breeding sites near your home:

·         Eliminate used tires, cans, and areas of standing water from your property and empty water from flower pots, bird baths, and other containers weekly.

·         Make sure all roof gutters are clean and properly draining.

·         Clean and chlorinate pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty when not in use and drain water from pool covers.

For more information, contact the Licking County Health Department at (740) 349-6535 or visit www.lickingcohealth.org

West Nile Virus Found in Johnstown

The Licking County Health Department reported evidence of West Nile Virus (WNV) to Village officials on July 19th. A trap monitored by the Health Department has tested positive for WNV.  The infected mosquitoes were found in Westview Drive area.  The Health Department will conduct mosquito spraying within a half mile of the trap in order to reduce the risk posed by the disease on Monday July 23, 2012.

If you have further questions on spraying or WNV, contact the Licking County Health Department at (740) 349-6535 or visit www.lickingcohealth.org.

Note From AEP – Buildings Must be Ready to Accept Power

Your Home Must Be Ready to Accept Restored Service from AEP Ohio.

Your facilities must be in safe working condition before restoration can be completed.

As AEP Ohio continues to restore electric service to the more than 660,000 customers who were left without electricity by Friday’s windstorm, company officials are reminding customers that some repairs to the customers’ premises cannot be performed by AEP Ohio employees.

In instances where the storm has damaged customer’s wiring or equipment, the customer needs to contact a qualified electrician to ensure that their home can accept AEP Ohio’s service when crews arrive to make repairs.

In an overhead electric system, the connection between AEP Ohio and the customer is made at the weatherhead. The weatherhead is attached atop the metal conduit (pipe) or cable that rises from the meter box and typically continues above the roof’s edge for a couple of feet or so to provide safe clearance. With underground service, the customer’s responsibility starts at the meter box. The weatherhead, riser pipe and meter box, together, comprise the “electric service entrance.” The property owner owns the electric service entrance, and the wiring inside it, as well as the breaker or fuse box on the inside.

“AEP Ohio is responsible for the facilities and equipment up to the service entrance,” said Pablo Vegas, AEP Ohio’s president and chief operating officer. “We are not authorized to make repairs to the weatherhead or meter base if they are damaged. So we’re urging customers to make arrangements for any necessary repairs to their facilities to avoid any additional delays in getting their service restored.” Vegas noted that in all instances, the customer is responsible for the structure’s electrical wiring. The electric meter itself is AEP Ohio’s property.

If the service entrance is damaged or pulled away from the house, customers will need to call an electrician to have repairs made before electric service can be restored by AEP Ohio employees. In an effort to speed restoration efforts, some local municipalities will not require an inspection by local officials prior to service restoration.

For more information regarding customer responsibility for damages to their homes’ electric service drop, view the Outages & Problems section of AEPOhio.com or click this link

AEPOhio.com/outages/faq/DamageToYourHomeOrBusiness.aspx

AEP Ohio appreciates its customers’ understanding and patience as the repair crews continue their restoration work throughout the State of Ohio.

 

 

Please visit us at www.aepohio.com/info/community/communityAffairs.