When shopping for a natural gas supplier for your home, it is advisable to review pricing from at least 3 suppliers, if not more. Keep in mind, you are getting the same product from everyone, so you do not want to pay more than you have to for it. In spite of this, there is always something to be said for customer service, payment options, and corporate integrity. Some suppliers will provide incentives to sign up such as: SkyMiles for every dollar spent, a one-time gift card, a discount on the monthly customer charge for auto-pay or e-bill, etc. These vary and are valuable for many customers. A list of certified marketers can be found either on your utility’s website or on the state’s Public Service Commission’s website. Once you compile a list of suppliers, you can search online for such incentives and compare pricing.
Below are pricing options I found online available for residential customers in Georgia.
|Product||Supplier 1||Supplier 2||Supplier 3||Supplier 4|
|Index ($ per therm)(Variable Select, Standard Variable, Variable Rate)||$0.950||$1.029||$0.999||$0.970|
|12 Month Fixed Rate ($ per therm)||$0.540||$0.549||$0.479||$0.489|
|Monthly Customer Charge||$5.95||$3.99-$6.99||$5.95||$5.95|
Before you sign up with a supplier, keep in mind that you cannot negotiate 100% of your natural gas bill. There are three main components to your natural gas bill: utility charges, supply charges, and the customer service fee. On the bill below, I’ve highlighted with red boxes a few of the key components of the bill. The AGLC base charges are the charges from the utility and are not negotiable. The only negotiable charges are the supply charge and the customer service fee. The customer service fee varies by supplier and can be higher or lower depending on your credit. In my case, lowering this charge was just as important as lowering my rate since my usage is very low. The rate you need to compare among suppliers is the rate listed on your bill under “Your Price” or “therm rate.” On the bill below, this rate is circled in red. The total gas cost for the bill below for the 7.2 therms used was $3.89.
The table below shows a sample comparison. Supplier 1 offered a lower monthly customer service charge, but a higher gas rate than Supplier 2. For this month, Supplier 1 was the more competitive option.
|Supplier||Supplier 1||Supplier 2||Difference|
|Customer Service Charge||$3.95||$5.95||-$2.00 monthly|
|Gas Rate ($/ therm)||$0.540||$0.450||+$0.09 per therm|
|Total Estimated Bill||$24.35||$25.45||-$1.10 monthly|
The pricing and strategy around natural gas contracting in Georgia can be very different for commercial customers versus residential customers. When you are contracting your home, be sure to shop around, look at all components of your bill, and try to avoid paying the variable market rate as it can be much higher than fixed rates.
This is Part 3 of our Supply and Risk Management series. Stay tuned for more posts!