According to Statistics Canada, half of all Canadian households use natural gas to heat their homes. For homeowners, it is important to remember that the price of energy—especially natural gas—fluctuates just the way gas prices go up and down at the pump. But with the combination of numbers and figures, understanding the charges on your bill can be a bit confusing at times.
Here are some highlights to be aware of on your natural gas bill:
1) Personal information
If a natural gas bill is way higher than usual or if there is something strange appearing on your bill, be sure to check the name and address listed. Mail mix ups do happen.
2) Bill date
The bill date listed should always be listed as the day after the end of the billing period. For example, if the period being charged is from April 1 to May 1, the bill date should be listed as May 2. The reason behind this is to ensure every day of the billing period is accounted for.
3) BPP and Charges for Natural Gas
This section of a natural gas bill is for customers who sign up for ‘Bill Payment Plans’. These plans allow the customer to pay an estimated lump sum for their gas spread evenly across all billing periods. In layman’s terms: these plans allow you to pay a little every month instead of paying huge bills during colder months.
From transporting natural gas from western Canada to the cost of maintaining natural gas infrastructure, the charges for natural gas are the supplementary costs associated with delivering the gas to you. Think of the company as a restaurant serving natural gas: the meal itself is natural gas, but the server serving it to you gets a tip.
4) Other Companies
Near the end of a natural gas bill, there may be a section which lists the various third-party services and products involved with bringing it into your home. These charges can range from renting a furnace to something as simple as a water heater. Always check this section carefully to ensure you are not paying for something you are not using.
5) Estimated Reading
Your meter may not be read each month, so gas companies sometimes apply an estimate of the amount of gas you might have used. This estimate is based on where you live, previous years of consumption and the type of equipment installed in your house. Once an actual measured reading is taken in the future, the company will adjust for the difference.
6) Cost adjustment charge
When a natural gas provider issues a rate for its product, this cost is just a forecast of the actual price when it comes out of the ground. Since natural gas prices are always changing, by the time the product reaches your home, it might be a different price. The cost adjustment charge applies the actual rate, as opposed to the forecasted rate, on your bill.
7) PEF Value
Regarding PEF value, it’s important to remember that under normal circumstances, natural gas is lighter than air. Depending on where you live, differences in air pressure can cause natural gas to expand or contract as it is being delivered to your home. The pressure evaluation factor (PEF) is used to determine how much the amount of gas delivered from the source has changed in terms of cubic metres due to atmospheric pressure.
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