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With the cold weather season approaching, customers may start to use their natural gas appliances more and with natural gas prices rising, this could increase gas utility bills this winter.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, many factors have led to the national natural gas price increase such as storms, imports, exports, changes in inventory levels, and other sudden changes in demand.
These factors have caused widespread price fluctuations, and they could directly impact your gas bill. Read more to learn how gas prices are set, how Washington Gas charges its customers for gas, and for tips and recommendations to manage your bill.
How are natural gas prices set?
Many factors influence gas prices, but the most common are supply/demand, availability/price of other fuels, weather variations and import/export volume. Generally, natural gas, like most energy sources, is subject to supply and demand forces. This year, natural gas market prices are higher based on many factors such as the economic recovery from COVID-19, increased natural gas demand from last winter, and slower than anticipated production.
Here is a chart that shows the volatility of natural gas prices this year:
How does Washington Gas charge its customers for natural gas?
Washington Gas charges its customers what it pays for natural gas and does not profit from the sale of gas. While the recent global surge in natural gas prices has influenced our customers’ bills, the amount that Washington Gas charges for gas is reviewed monthly by our regulators. Washington Gas can only pass-through cost increases approved by our regulators.
In short, Washington Gas customers pay the same price that we pay for the purchase of natural gas.
Tips and Recommendations for Managing your Bill
Before winter chill sets, start your savings now with these tips:
- Enroll in the Budget Plan to spread the cost of heating throughout the year. With the Budget Plan, customers pay the same amount every month, so there are no surprises. Because home and water heating can be among the highest utility costs, spreading these natural gas charges throughout the year can help ease expenses and provide relief. Not to mention, the Budget Plan helps you do just that—budget. You can plan accordingly for other expenses with a predictable utility bill each month. To enroll, visit https://www.washingtongas.com/budgetplan.
- Save on your energy consumption by implementing energy efficiency measures. By preparing your furnace for winter, taking an online home energy assessment, upgrading to high-efficiency appliances with rebates, and more, you’re taking the first step toward becoming more energy efficient. Whether replacing your water heater or adding weather stripping, you’re making your home more energy efficient. Small changes make a big difference in optimizing your energy and can help you lower your energy consumption and manage your bills. For the most up-to-date energy-saving solutions in your area, visit https://wgsmartsavings.com/.
- Apply for energy assistance. Income-eligible customers may qualify for energy assistance programs that help offset costs and provide relief for utility bills. These programs are available throughout our service territory in Maryland, DC and Virginia, and are here to help customers in need. To learn more, visit https://washingtongascares.com/.
- Sign up for the Installment Plan. If you still need assistance, the Installment Plan may also be a fit for you. The Installment Plan allows customers to enter 12-month or 24-month payment plans to manage their energy bills. To sign up, go to https://www.washingtongas.com/paymentplan.
As we adjust to the changing weather and increasing gas prices, Washington Gas is here to help. Through our programs, energy efficiency solutions, and Customer Experience expertise—we strive to provide information that equips you to navigate the evolving energy landscape and manage your energy bills.