What Are the Basics of Shopping for Natural Gas?

An average American family’s heating bill takes up 45% of their energy bill, making it the largest energy expense. With winter in full swing and with the rise in natural gas costs that started last November, people are looking at their gas bills and shopping around to see how they can lower their monthly bills.

If you’re shopping for natural gas rates, here are some basics to consider when comparing plans.

States with Deregulated Gas

Originally, states in the U.S. were divided into regions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) where a single utility company had exclusive rights to supply and delivery of energy within that region. This created a monopoly over the area serviced and made it difficult for other companies to compete for the same business.

In the 1990s, FERC deregulated the energy industry and gave customers the option on where to buy the natural gas and/or electricity services delivered to them. This increased the competition among energy supply companies and gave customers the ability to shop around for prices that fits their budgeting needs. 

As a consumer, if you live in a state with deregulated energy, you have the option to shop from the authorized energy suppliers in your state and have this service delivered to your home or business through the same pipelines. When shopping for natural gas, compare rates between your utility and alternative natural gas provider to see whether switching can give you better deals and rates in your natural gas bill.

Learn the Basics

There are several points to consider when shopping for natural gas:

    1. Price
      When shopping for natural gas prices, check to see if rates are competitive and how they compare with rates from other companies. Some contracts come with a termination fee. If you decide to terminate your contract before its end, you may be charged up to $50. Check to see if there are any installation or activation fees as well as other fees you’ll have to be responsible for such as monthly service fees or administration fees.
    2. Monthly Gas Usage
      Picking a plan that’s right for you should also depend on how much gas you use in a month. You can check your average usage in your past bills. Once you know how much energy you use, you can use that to shop for your natural gas plan. 
    3. Length of Contract
      Consider the length of a contract is right for you. Natural gas service contracts vary in length and between fixed or variable rates. Fixed rates do not change for the duration of your contract and protect you from massive price spikes. Variable rates change month to month meaning that you pay less when prices fall but you will end up paying more during the winter when natural gas prices go up or when prices spike. 
    4. Company Reputation
      Research the company and find out what kind of customer service reputation they have. There will be times when you need to call your supplier with questions or requests and a great supplier will take care of your request promptly and respectfully.
    5. Incentives
      Find out if there are further savings you can take advantage of. Some suppliers offer veteran or military discounts, some make charitable contributions, some come bundled with energy devices such as smart thermostats. 

Consider Your Options with Santanna Energy

Along with fair rates, Santanna Energy customers can take advantage of the rewards program. Take advantage of monthly savings that can be used in over 500,000 stores! Contact us today to learn more!