A natural gas utility bill can be a confusing document, with lots of charges that are difficult to understand and often add up to large amounts. Here we break down what each of these charges mean so that you can feel more in control of your future bills.
What is a therm?
The first thing to know is what a therm means. A therm is a measure of heat energy and is used to represent the natural gas you use at home (it’s kind of like a kilowatt-hour, which is another measure of energy used to measure electricity). To think of it another way, burning around 100 cubic feet of natural gas will produce one therm of energy.
Most portions of your bill are based on the number of therms you use in a billing cycle. The natural gas meter in your home measures the number of therms you use each month.
The Big Five Charges on Your Gas Bill
There are five main charges on a Peoples Gas bill:
- Customer Charge
- Delivery Charge
- Storage Service Charge
- Gas Charge
- Qualified Infrastructure Plant Charge
1. Customer Charge
This fee covers the utility’s fixed service costs, such as billing and meter readings. This charge is always on your bill no matter how much gas you’re using; it’s the same every month. The Customer Charge for People’s Gas has been $35.51 a month since 2020, which may be a large portion of your total bill (like during the summer when you are not using your heat) or a small one, depending on how much gas you are using.
2. Delivery Charge
This is the cost the utility charges you for delivering gas to your house. This charge is always on your bill, but will change each month depending on how much gas you use. In April 2022 the charge is about 19 cents per therm used. This price per therm hasn’t changed much since 2020.
3. Storage Service Charge
This is what the utility charges you for storing your gas supply. Like the Delivery Charge, it also changes each month depending on how much gas you use. The cost per therm is much lower than the Delivery Charge – in Spring 2022, it is only 4 cents per therm. Although this is low, it’s actually an 11% increase from last year.
4. Gas Charge
This is what the utility charges you for the gas you use. This cost can change quite a bit every month depending on two factors – how much gas you used, and the current cost of gas. The Peoples Gas cost of gas per therm has gone up considerably over the past couple years. For instance, it increased from 24 cents a therm in October of 2020 to 73 cents a therm in October of 2021. This means that even if you used the same amount of gas both years, your Gas Charge would go up by 204%.
5. Qualified Infrastructure Plant charge
This last charge is a percentage added to your bill to cover infrastructure like replacement of pipes or underground natural gas facilities. Because this is a percentage, the actual charge will vary from bill to bill as your usage goes up or down. Additionally, the percentage itself can change each month. To learn more about this charge from the Citizens Utility Board, click here.
Smaller Charges and Taxes
In addition to the five main charges to your gas bill, there are additional fees and taxes that will show up. These are much smaller charges and won’t make up the bulk of your bill. The Energy Efficiency Program charge, for instance, is charged per therm but tends to only be a couple dollars on your bill.
Learn More from Elevate!
Our Community Resource team is available to talk through any questions you have about your gas bill. We can also help you find payment assistance programs and energy efficiency opportunities to lower your gas bills in the future. Contact us at 833-204-1992 or visit ElevateNP.org/Community-Resources to see more ways to get in touch.
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