Have you ever opened your natural gas bill and been shocked by the amount you owe? While this is likely caused by how much natural gas you’re burning, there may be additional factors behind your bill increase. Let’s break them down:
1. Price-per-therm – A “therm” is simply the unit for measuring natural gas consumption (and you can learn more about them in our handy FAQs). Georgia natural gas prices are typically quoted in cents per therm. Depending on how much gas you’re using, this can make a big difference on your bill. Look at your latest natural gas bill. What are you paying per therm? If it’s more than these rates, we have some good news for you.
2. Rate plan – Your rate plan affects your price-per-therm, so that’s the next thing to examine on your bill. Most Georgia natural gas marketers offer two options for rate plans: either “variable” or “fixed.”
Variable rate plans do not require a contract, meaning you can cancel at any time without penalty. But, your price-per-them in any given month will fluctuate with the market price of natural gas. Depending on natural gas rates at the time, this could affect your bill.
Fixed rate plans lock you into a specific price-per-them in return for a commitment to a contract, typically 6, 12, 18 or 24 months. Depending on current natural gas prices, fixed rates may be higher or lower than the variable rate.
Still unsure which plan you should choose? Take our quiz or compare the difference in natural gas rates. You may find you can start saving right away by switching to a new plan.
3. Usage – This is the obvious one. The more natural gas you burn, the higher your bill will be, regardless of the factors above. We have plenty of resources to help you manage your usage and save on natural gas, from winterizing your home to adjusting your natural gas water heater settings. Try these tips to start saving right away.
4. Billing Options – The best way to avoid being surprised by a high natural gas bill is to enroll in a “budget billing” program. With budget billing, your natural gas costs stay the same each month for a year. If you’re eligible, your provider will average your 12 previous monthly bills and estimate the costs of energy for the next 12 months, then divide your predicted energy use into equal monthly payments. Instead of big natural gas bills in the winter, you can spread those expenses across the whole year and be much friendlier to your budget. If you’re a SCANA Energy customer, learn more about enrolling in our budget billing program here. If you’re not a SCANA Energy customer, we’d love to serve you.
5. Late fees – While there are limits to late fees, these can certainly add up over time. The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) states that a late fee “shall not exceed $10 or 1.5% of the past due balance, whichever is greater.” The PSC also restricts natural gas marketers from applying any late fee to bills less than $30. But, depending on how much of an unpaid gas bill payment or overdue balance you’re carrying, these can significantly impact your bill.
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The highlighted counties are eligible for fixed rates, as certain rates are not available in all locations.*
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