Understanding Therms: Decoding Your SCANA Energy Consumption and Costs

Many natural gas users believe a therm is just a measurement of the exact volume of natural gas used, but that isn’t the case. So, what is a therm?

The number of therms you used in a billing cycle is calculated by subtracting your previous natural gas meter reading from your current and multiplying that by your BTU factor. Seems simple enough, but if you don’t work in the natural gas industry those terms may sound like gibberish. Let’s break down what therms are, how they affect your natural gas bill, and how to use less of them (i.e. save energy).

Natural Gas Therm

Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) obtains your meter reading and calculates usage by subtracting your previous meter reading from your current one. The meter readings are measured by volume in CCF, or hundreds of cubic feet. AGL sends the usage to your natural gas provider, then it is multiplied by the premise’s British Thermal Unit (BTU) Factor. A BTU is the energy required to produce heat and is determined by the amount of energy used to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. A property’s BTU varies constantly due to changes in the composition of natural gas, so an average factor is determined. This factor multiplied by your CCF usage to determine actual energy used, which is measured in therms.

In short, a therm is a measurement of the total energy needed to use natural gas.


Therms and Natural Gas Bills

Your natural gas bill is composed of many factors, how many therms of gas used per month being just one. The number of natural gas therms used multiplied by your current therm price is called the Natural Gas Consumption Charge. The other charges you’ll see on every natural gas bill are state and local taxes, a customer service charge, and the AGL Pass-Through Charge.

Customer Service Charge

A fixed fee is charged each month in order to provide quality service. This covers the cost of servicing and maintaining your account, so you’ll see it on your bill regardless of who your natural gas provider is.

AGL Pass-Through Charge

This is a charge that all natural gas marketers collect on behalf of Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) for its services, such as gas delivery, pipeline maintenance, and meter readings. AGL determines this charge for every natural gas user on AGL’s system.

State and Local Taxes

Georgia and the United States law require that a sales tax be applied to your total bill.


Save on Natural Gas

While it’s great to save by locking in a low rate with SCANA Energy, it’s not the only way to lower your natural gas bill. There are many ways to decrease your gas usage, which will help decrease your number of natural gas therms per month. Plus, saving energy also helps the planet, so it’s a win-win all around.

Here are simple ways to use less energy in your home:

  • Make sure your thermostat settings are optimized for the current weather.
  • Regularly change the air filter in your HVAC system.
  • Check the weather stripping on your home’s windows and doors to ensure there aren’t any leaks.
  • Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F.
  • Insulate your pipes.

SCANA Energy is all about saving energy when you can, visit our blog to find more energy saving tips.


Still confused about natural gas therms? Call us at 1.877.467.2262, our customer care agents are available to help Monday through Friday, 7am to 8pm and Saturday, 8am to 5pm.

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