flacoinohio, I will answer the question as if I was in an identical situation as yours. First, I would want to be absolutely sure that I would not be moving for the next seven years. If I thought I might, then I would try to surmize to the best of my ability, where I would possibly move, then determine if the three major companies also serviced that area as well. If they didn't, that might cause me personally to hesitate. Let's now assume, that I have determined that I am planning on staying in my home, rental, whatever for the next 7 years and if I move it will be serviced by same company. I personally would take the 7 year "locked" rate in a heartbeat. Reason, I would have looked at the 10 year chart of natural gas prices (do a google search for 10 year chart of prices).
I would note that Natural gas is at a low price due to economic conditions, warmer than normal weather, etc. When the economy does pick up, I can safely surmize that natural gas demand will increase due to factory production demands. I would also surmize that within the next two years or three, the federal reserve would possibly increase interest rates due to concerns about inflation, due to their previous rate policies. Therefore, I would be concerned about inflation and due to inflation all commodity prices would increase. I personally am not concerned about Natural Gas prices going down, but rather them going up within the next 7 years. Therefore, after considering everything, I do the lock and sleep well at night with no worries. I personally would believe over the next seven years I would more likely benefit from the lock, than not doing so. That's what I would do if it were me. I would also understand that the company understands they will have competition and that locking me in as a customer, guaranteeing them 7 years of uninterrupted revenue is better than having me as a client, and then losing me in a year. Like a cell phone company does now with high churn rates. Just an opinion to offer you. Best of luck in your decision.