Lowering Your Natural Gas Bill
by Renea Winchester
How to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter
Preparing for Winter
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.
Updated August 2014
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.
Take the Next Step:
- For more related articles visit the TDS Library.
- With your monthly statement in hand, contact the natural gas companies in your area and begin comparison-shopping. It just may turn into time well spent as you may save yourself some money on your winter heating bill.
- Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!
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