Ohio moves closer to natural gas deregulation

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has taken another step toward the deregulation of natural gas.

The commission said Wednesday that two companies - Columbia Gas of Ohio and Dominion East Ohio Gas - can eliminate regulated pricing for households, with certain conditions.

Supporters of deregulation say the actions will lead to greater competition and lower prices. But opponents dispute it, saying that a few dominant suppliers no longer will have to compete with the regulated price.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that it's a significant step in a process that began in Ohio in the 1990s. Customers may need to select a pricing plan from an unregulated gas supplier by 2017.

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