How to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter
Preparing for Winter
Tips to Save on Home Heating
Each month I watched helplessly as my natural gas bill hovered dangerously close to three hundred dollars, a bargain compared to other parts of the country, but outrageous when living on a budget. I was paying $1.279 per thermal unit, or "therm." However, a survey of my neighbors revealed their natural gas rates varied from $1.30 to 98 cents per therm for essentially the same natural gas!
I contacted the natural gas companies in my area. Then with monthly statement in hand, I called the company currently providing natural gas for my home. I explained that I was comparison-shopping and quoted my neighbor's rate of 98 cents per therm. Then I asked if they could match their competitors per therm price. After all, I had been their loyal customer for decades. The customer service agent placed me on hold while she checked with her supervisor.
While she checked I calculated. At the current $1.279 per therm rate using 230 therms a month, my bill would be $294 each month, or $3,528 annually. If the company agreed to reduce my rate to 98 cents per therm, I could save over $800 per year. If not, I would transfer to a new provider. After all, $800 is a lot of money. The savings of switching to a new gas company far outweighed any inconvenience I might encounter.
A few minutes later she returned to the line. She explained that the company could not match the competitor's rate, but quoted me a new rate of $1.029 per therm. If interested, I could lock in this rate for a year. However, if I cancelled service before the one-year anniversary, I would be charged an early termination penalty fee of $250. While this wasn't my asking price, I quickly agreed to the lower thermal unit rate, especially since I have no plans to disconnect natural gas from my home
In less than five minutes, I saved approximately $650. I think it was time well spent.
Renea Winchester is a writer who resides in Roswell, Georgia. Her work received the Appalachian Writers Association Award and has appeared in Gardening How-To and A Cup of Comfort Series.
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