Gas deregulation offers significant savings for consumers who choose the right plan, but how do you begin to find the rate plan that’s right for you?
If you live in a gas deregulated state, each of the suppliers in your area offer multiple plans, with a sometimes-confusing mix of rates and contract lengths. It’s not surprising that many customers have a hard time finding the right plan for their budget and lifestyle.
Here are some natural gas plan basics to help you find the best option for you:
The Deregulated Gas Industry
If the gas utility in your state has been deregulated, you can choose who provides the natural gas that comes into your home or business from the main utility company.
As a customer, you have a choice from many natural gas suppliers that are authorized to sell natural gas in your state. Your state’s public utility commission website will have a list of all registered and authorized natural gas suppliers.
If you choose to buy natural gas from a supplier other than your utility, you will still get natural gas provided through the same safe and trustworthy pipelines and no one needs to come to your home to switch out meters or hardware. Deregulation simply separates the supply of natural gas from the delivery of natural gas. The utility company that serves your home or business will continue to deliver natural gas without interruption. The supply side of natural gas is competitive and that’s where you can save money if you shop for a plan.
In some deregulated areas, the gas utility company also operates as a gas provider entity. If that’s the case in your neighborhood, the natural gas utility company will be your default gas supplier, but the choice is up to you. Deregulation gives you the right to choose between your utility or another alternative natural gas provider, depending on which offers the better deal for you.
How to Shop for a Natural Gas Plan
At first glance, it may be tough to figure out your best natural gas plan.
Great looking plans can turn out to be bad for your budget, and plans that don’t look very promising can be perfect for your lifestyle. The most important thing to remember is that you’re looking for a gas plan, not just a gas rate. Reading each plan in detail and comparing the information to the way you live and how you use natural gas will help you find the right plan.
Here are a few very important points to consider:
1. The Length of the Contract
Contracts run in varying lengths, and there is no one-size-fits-all contract for everyone.
Long-term plans lock in a rate for the length of the contract, and most providers offer contract lengths between one and two years. If you find a great rate, a long-term contract can be a good thing. On the other hand, if natural gas rates go down, you can be stuck in a contract paying higher prices for months.
Natural gas prices tend to rise in the winter because the cold temperatures increase the demand for the commodity. However, the ability to store natural gas provides some relief from seasonal price fluctuations.
2. Monthly Gas Usage
Your best natural gas plan will depend on how much gas you normally use in any given month.
Check your past bills to find out your average usage. Once you understand your monthly usage, you can start to shop for a natural gas plan. You’ll want to review each plan for any unusual rate changes that might occur like price increases over a certain amount of usage or minimum use fees.
3. Special Plan Features
Natural gas suppliers offer plans with special plan features that are worth considering. Even though the rate is the most important thing for most customers, other incentives may be available. Some natural gas plans offer veterans or active military discounts, charitable contributions, reward incentive plans, or come bundled with an energy-saving gadget such as a programmable, wi-fi enabled thermostat. It pays to keep an eye on the details.
Compare Natural Gas Plans in Your Area
At NaturalGasPlans.com, you can shop and compare the best natural gas plans from reputable alternative gas suppliers in your area. Take a look and find out how much you can save with competitive natural gas rates.