In Georgia, only natural gas is deregulated for customers behind Atlanta Gas Light Company (AGLC) and Liberty Utilities, giving customer the power to choose their supplier/ marketer. AGLC/ Liberty are responsible for storing and distributing natural gas while marketers are responsible for selling this gas to consumers. With about eleven certified marketers in Georgia, the competitive marketplace keeps rates low. However, buying gas as a commercial or industrial customer is very different than buying gas as a residential consumer.
There are a few product types that all customers are generally interested in when looking into a natural gas contract:
- Fixed products offer a customer with one price for all usage, ensuring that no matter how much a customer uses, it will be billed at the same rate. Since the cost of natural gas varies all the time, there is a premium suppliers will add to a fixed price to ensure they can cover their costs.
- An index product allows your price to vary monthly with the market, making it a low cost option. Keep in mind, prices can vary greatly, making large swings in the monthly bill difficult to budget for.
- There are blended options as well, which offer a great middle ground for many commercial customers. A blended product is not an option for residential consumers, as residential customers must choose a fixed or index rate.
Nonetheless, residential index prices are not as competitive as commercial index options and in Georgia, and the residential index rate can be almost double the rate of a fixed price. For these reasons, most residential customers should lock in a fixed price for their natural gas.
This is Part 2 of our new mini-series discussing Supply and Risk Management! Stay tuned more posts this summer!