Be Prepared for Winter (gas)
While the winter rate for the gas supply portion of your natural gas bill won’t be set for another month, it’s likely that the price you pay for natural gas this winter will be higher, on average, than last winter. While weather and other factors beyond our control affect the price of natural gas supply, there are things that you can do to help manage your bills this winter.
The gas supply portion of the typical residential gas bill is almost 70% of the total bill. Simple conservation measures can help you reduce your natural gas use and potentially save you money. Cutting your natural gas consumption is easy and the tips below will help you take the steps that are right for you.
In addition to conserving energy throughout your home, there are a few other options available to help you manage your utility bills. All of New Hampshire’s natural gas utilities have budget billing programs or levelized billing programs, where the cost of your energy usage is spread out over a 12-month period. Your natural gas utility also offers payment arrangements so that you can make payments toward higher than expected monthly bills over a longer period of time. To enroll in a budget or levelized billing program or to set an a payment arrangement, contact your local gas utility.
Low-income households may also qualify for assistance programs that help pay utility bills. To find out if you are eligible, contact your local community action agency for information about the fuel assistance program (FAP) as well as other programs. Your gas utility also offers a bill discount for qualifying low income households. More information about the gas discount program is available on our website or by contacting the Commission at 1-800-852-3793.
What Affects Natural Gas Prices
The gas supply portion of your utility bill includes the cost of transporting the gas to New Hampshire and is approximately 70% of the typical residential heating customer’s annual bill. The delivery charge is approximately 30% of the annual bill and is the cost to deliver natural gas through the local utility pipelines to your home or business. The Commission sets the delivery rates and also reviews the gas purchasing activities of your natural gas utility, since the utility is responsible for purchasing gas supply on behalf of its customers. In the spring and in the fall, your natural gas utility makes a filing with the Commission with a proposed cost of gas for the upcoming six months. The Commission reviews the information to ensure that the natural gas utility does not make a profit on the purchase of natural gas.
The use of natural gas for heating places upward pressure on gas prices during the winter months as demand for gas increases. If unexpected or severe weather occurs, prices will generally increase. For New Hampshire, this is due mainly to the limited space, or capacity on the pipelines that bring natural gas to New Hampshire.