Understanding natural gas prices in Georgia just by looking at your bill can be somewhat of a tall task. On top of all the different sections, with the different taxes and distribution charges, it can be difficult to have a true understanding of what you’re actually paying, per therm, for natural gas. Fortunately, Georgia Gas Savings can break things down to help you understand an apples to apples comparison of your rate.
So, the two biggest numbers on your natural gas bill are the cents per therm, and the total therms used. However, there are also some other charges of note, specifically the customer service charge, and the AGCL Base Charge. See, this already got complicated.
Now, the cents per therm charge is the rate companies use to advertise their natural gas rates. However, as you can see, there are a lot of things that can change the actual per therm charge you’re paying. Customer service charge, for example, can vary from provider to provider. So if two companies have the same therm charge, but one has an extra $5 on customer service charge, then you’re immediately paying more for the second company.
The AGCL Base Charge (Atlanta Gas & Light) represents the cost of delivering natural gas to your home. Basically, it’s the transportation cost. It can get tricky, because case rates are calculated uniquely to each home or business, and they are calculated based on the coldest period of the previous year. A list of charges also included in your base are: Customer Charge, Ancillary Charge, Dedicated Design Day Capacity, Peaking Service, Social Responsibility Fee, Environmental Response Recovery Fee, Strategic Infrastructure Development and Enhancement (STRIDE) Fee, and Franchise Recovery Fee. For a more detailed explanation of all these fees, check out this reference page for the Georgia PSC.
But, moving on, however, a bill breaks down, the easiest way to find the TRUE cost per therm is to divide the total bill by Therms used. This is the only way to truly get the total amount a customer is paying per therm. This is important to know because you get a sense of how a company’s customer service charge weighs into the total cost of your bill.
Now, the bad news is that it’s hard to grasp with 100% certainty what your total per therm cost will be until after you’ve already signed up and received your first bill. But the GOOD news is that, with the customer service charge and the cost per therm, two items you can find out before you sign up, you should be able to estimate how good your true cost per therm rate will be. And this is particularly true since the interstate transportation charges should be close if not identical regardless of provider.