The Natural Gas Guide to Shopping Smart
It’s been a long hot summer so far, folks. So this week, we’re cooling things off with a leisurely return to natural gas basics. From the cheapest energy rates, to the savviest times to switch, this guide will get you power-shopping the natural gas providers in Georgia with the best of them. Let’s dive in!
Natural Gas Rates: What to Look For
First off, gas rates! These are different for almost every plan, and tell you the cost of one therm of gas. They come in two different types:
- A variable rate is one that the provider can change month to month. This leads to some pretty hefty spikes over the winter and summer seasons, when energy usage is up.
- A fixed rate plan stays the same throughout the entire length of your plan.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to find a nice cheap fixed rate plan. This will shield you from price spikes, and give you long-term savings if gas prices continue to rise year-on-year.
One perk of variable rate plans, however, is that they don’t come on a contract. This means you can jump off at any time without paying any extra fees. Which brings us to…
What’s an Early Termination Fee?
The early termination fee, or exit fee, is what you’ll find on all plans that come on a contract. It’s a penalty you’ll need to pay if you want to leave early, and they tend to run between $50 and $250.
But don’t be spooked! Because breaking your contract early can be a great way of finagling your way onto a cheaper rate. That’s because gas rates usually change from season to season in a fairly predictable pattern. So, you might want to end your contract early to take advantage of lower rates.
So When’s the Best Time to Shop Natural Gas?
In summer and winter, demand for natural gas is high, whether it’s for heating for generating electricity. This will hike up rates – especially if natural gas reserves and production are low. So this isn’t the time to be locking in a long-term fixed rate!
Instead, you want to be shopping during the ‘shoulder months’. These are periods in fall and spring, usually around October and May, when demand for natural gas is lower and prices are usually at their cheapest. If you lock in a fixed rate during this period, you’ll enjoy that cheaper rate even when prices rise.
How do I Switch my Energy Plan?
Switching really is the easiest part. Just… sign up to the new plan ! Your new provider will notify the relevant parties. AGL will reach out to you to confirm. And, voila! They’ll handle the rest. Just remember, plan switches usually kick in on the 1st of each month. And to make that date, you’ll need to get all your info in by the 18th of the previous one.
One More Thing… What’s that Base Charge?
The ‘base charge’ is also referred to as the AGL charge, or pass through charge. It’s what you pay to AGL to help them cover the costs of maintaining and running its network of pipelines in Georgia. And you can’t shop your way out of this one because AGL is the only one! Just make sure to factor it into your monthly budget.
Put these Natural Gas Basics into Practice!
There you have it! Shopping natural gas can seem a daunting task for first-timers. But now you’re armed with everything you need to know to make real savings on your energy bill. So go ahead, take this Georgia guide to natural gas basics and put it into practice at www.GeorgiaGasSavings.com!