The EAST OHIO GAS CO. has supplied natural gas to the Cleveland area since receiving a controversial franchise from the city in 1902. STANDARD OIL CO. established the East Ohio Gas Co. to pipe natural gas from its wells in West Virginia to Akron for use in lighting and heating homes and businesses there and along the pipeline route. Incorporated on 8 Sept. 1898, by 1900 it had 3,874 customers. In 1902 the company sought a franchise to extend natural gas services to Cleveland. It was opposed by 2 companies already providing Cleveland with artificial gas. The Cleveland Gas Light & Coke Co., incorporated 6 Feb. 1846, dominated service on the eastern side of the Cuyahoga. The People's Gas Light Co., organized in Dec. 1866, provided service for the west side. Although rates were regulated by the city council, customers complained regularly about artificial-gas prices and service. Consumers were attracted to natural gas because it was less expensive and more efficient. Artificial-gas suppliers and coal dealers fought the new company's proposed entry into the market. During the council's debate on the franchise, one councilman dramatically displayed the money offered him by opponents of the franchise, and the council then approved East Ohio's request on 23 June 1902.
Martin B. Daly, general manager of the firm's Cleveland operations and later East Ohio president (1906-26), established an office at 437 the ARCADE. By 1905 the company had 280 business and 30,000 residential customers. On 24 Feb. 1910, the company was reorganized to include the Cleveland Gas Light & Coke Co., and the People's Gas Light Co. The new East Ohio Gas Co., located at 1447 E. 6th St., had capital of $20 million. In 1916 the company moved into a new building at 1405 E. 6th St.; it moved into another new building at 1717 E. 9th St. in Apr. 1959. It served 167 communities in 1958 with 750,000 customers. In 1943 East Ohio began to expand its supply of natural gas by supplementing gas from Appalachian fields with gas from Texas. On 20 Oct. 1944, an explosion and fire destroyed the company's storage facilities and offices on E. 62nd St. between St. Clair and the lakefront (see EAST OHIO GAS CO. EXPLOSION AND FIRE). East Ohio remained a subsidiary of Standard Oil until federal regulations forced the oil company to divest itself of East Ohio and other public utilities in 1943. The Consolidated Natural Gas Co. was formed to receive these companies. East Ohio is the largest gas distributor among Consolidated's subsidiaries. In 1995 EOG employed 2,200 people who served more than 1.1 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in 270 northwest and southeast Ohio communities.
In 2000, Consolidated Natural Gas Co. was purchased by Dominion Energy, a Richmond, Virginia-based firm with interests in electric and gas distribution. The acquisition made Dominion one of the largest electric and gas utilities in the United States, with over 4 million customers from the mid-Atlantic to the Northeastern U.S. As a division of Dominion, EOG continued to operate under the name Dominion East Ohio Gas Company. As of 2004, the Cleveland-based gas company was Dominion's largest gas distribution subsidiary with more than 1.2 million customers in 400 Northwestern and Southeastern Ohio Communities. With its long history, the East Ohio Gas Company has earned its place in the ONE HUNDRED YEAR CLUB OF THE WESTERN RESERVE.
East Ohio Gas Co. Fifty Years of Service, 1898-1948 (ca. 1948).