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Dear Dayton, Ohio:
If it's just a past due bill and they did not sue to collect, it's four years from when it was due -- although if you have subsequently made payments to the gas company on other bills, it might be four years from the last payment.
If they sued and have a judgment, it's 21 years.
They may also have internal policies which do not let you open a new account until the old one is paid off.