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How to Choose a Natural Gas Company

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Whether you’re keeping warm on a cold winter night, heating water for a hot shower, or cooking up a storm for family and friends, natural gas is there for you. Both homeowners and business owners don’t just enjoy the benefits of natural gas; they couldn’t live without it. But just because you need natural gas, you don’t need to be held captive by high rats and long-term contacts. When it comes time to pick a natural gas provider, we know that you have lots of choices. But not all the options are the same. While the gas may not change much from provider to provider, the service and pricing can be very different. That’s why you need to make a careful choice for your natural gas provider.

How to Choose a Natural Gas Company [infographic]

What is Natural Gas?

Natural gas is a fossil fuel, similar to coal or oil, that is the result of prehistoric organic material and millions to hundreds of millions of years of heat and pressure. Over a long period of time, organic material from prehistoric plants and animals built up in thick layers at the bottom of ancient oceans. Eventually, those layers were covered in sand and silt, and eventually with rock. Over millions of years, heat and pressure converted the carbon-rich organic material into fossil fuels, including oil, coal, and natural gas.

Today, we use natural gas as a fuel and to manufacture some materials. The largest component of natural gas is methane, an energy-rich gas that releases a significant amount of heat when burned. The energy released from burning methane makes natural gas a useful way to heat homes and businesses, cook, and heat other substances like the water used in homes and businesses.

What is a Natural Gas Marketer?

There are two major players in how you receive natural gas to your home or business. The first entity is the natural gas utility. Most Georgia residents are served by Atlanta Gas and Light (AGL), which owns the pipelines and coordinates the delivery of natural gas. State and federal laws regulate AGL as a public utility.

The other major entity involved in how you receive gas is a natural gas marketer. In 1998, Georgia deregulated its natural gas sector. This allowed for more competition and better prices. Instead of single gas utility holding a monopoly, multiple gas marketers could purchase gas wholesale and sell it to consumers at competitive rates. The gas that consumers receive is exactly the same, but competition leads to more competitive pricing and better customer service. Consumers can select a natural gas marketer. They pay the gas marketer for their gas, instead of paying the utility directly. In most cases, the utility still charges a base fee for the use of their infrastructure.

True Natural Gas is a natural gas marketer. True Natural Gas consistently offers some of the lowest rates in every market. They are also committed to only the best in customer service. When you purchase gas with True Natural Gas, you can rest assured that you are getting a great value, along with dedicated customer service 24/7. True Natural Gas is also a TrustDALE certified company you can trust.

Does the Natural Gas Provider Have Good Customer Service?

Before selecting a natural gas provider, you should know the quality of their customer service. One way to test the availability of a provider’s customer service is to call their customer service line at different times of the day and see how long it takes to get an answer. When you call, have a question prepared and see how knowledgeable and friendly the representatives are. Also, take note of the call center hours. If the call center isn’t open at times that are convenient for you, you may want to try another provider.

Another way to check out a provider’s customer service record is to look at their reputation. Ask around to see if your friends or family have used a provider and ask how they feel about their current providers. Do an online search for reviews to gather more customer experiences. Finally, you can check on the Georgia Public Service Commission website to see a gas marketer scorecard of how often consumers reach out to the GPSC with complaints.

Comparing Prices

The gas you get from every provider is exactly the same, so the main differentiator in terms of product is the price. To see how prices compare, you can start with the Georgia Public Service Commission’s natural gas price comparisons. Be sure you are aware of all of the cots involved in purchasing natural gas. In addition to the cost per therm, there are also delivery and service fees. If you sign up for a fixed rate and cancel early, you may also incur cancellation fees. Also, remember that the lowest price may not always come with the best customer service. Price should be an important part of your choice, but not the only factor.

Make Sure You Understand the Provider’s Policies

There are all sorts of hidden costs that could come up if you don’t know your provider’s policies. Before you sign up with any natural gas provider, make sure you understand the fee for switching services. Most providers charge a fee for switching to their service. You may also run up late fees if you don’t know your provider’s policies. Find out when you will be billed and how long you have to make your payments. Also, make sure you are aware of any fees associated with credit card payments or bank drafts.

It can be a good idea to sign up for automatic payments to avoid late fees or lapses in service. But even if your payments are automated, make sure you read your monthly bills so that you know how much gas you are using and what you are paying. Be on the lookout for any spikes in usage or costs.

Finally, before signing up, find out what happens if you have to cancel or switch to another provider. Are there penalties and fees? How much are those fees? It is good to know as much as possible before you switch, so you aren’t taken by surprise.

True Natural Gas Pricing

As with most natural gas providers, there are three standard price structures for purchasing natural gas. The first price structure is a monthly variable rate. The cost of gas varies from month to month to reflect demand and current conditions. Typically, prices are higher in the winter when demand is high, and lower in the summer as demand drops. The other option is a six-month fixed price. With this plan, the cost per therm is guaranteed for six months. Customers also have the option of purchasing a twelve-month fixed-rate plan. That way, they can receive a standard per-therm rate for an entire year.

Senior Discount

True Natural Gas wants to ensure that everyone can afford to heat their homes. They know that some seniors living on fixed incomes may not have the resources to keep up with home heating bills. That’s why they offer a special program for seniors. Seniors over the age of 65 with an income of $24,980 or less can get their service fee reduced for a savings of $30 a year. Those who qualify can also have their base charge reduced by up to $14 a month. Seniors may also be eligible to have their cancellation fees waived if they need to cancel a fixed-rate plan.

Making the Best Choice

It can be hard to sort out the different choices for natural gas. However, TrustDALE is proud to recommend True Natural Gas for their outstanding customer service and reliably low prices. TrustDALE trusts True Natural Gas, and so can you.