With the cold weather season approaching, you may start to use your natural gas appliances more. Because natural gas prices are rising, this could impact your gas utility bills in the coming months.
Even as we increase our use of natural gas this winter—from the furnaces that heat our homes to other appliance usages—the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that multiple factors have led to national natural gas price increases.* These include storms, fluctuations in imports/exports volumes, changes in natural gas inventory levels and other sudden changes in demand.**
These factors can directly impact your gas bill. Read more to learn how gas prices are set and how Washington Gas charges our customers for gas. We also offer tips and recommendations to help manage your bill.
How are natural gas prices set?
Like most energy sources, natural gas is generally subject to supply-and-demand forces. Natural gas market prices are higher this year based on many factors, including economic recovery from COVID-19, increased natural gas demand from last winter, and lower-than-anticipated production.
The chart below underscores the volatility of natural gas prices this year:
How does Washington Gas charge for natural gas?
Washington Gas charges our customers based on what we pay for natural gas; we do not profit from the sale of gas. While the recent global surge in natural gas prices has influenced our customers’ bills, the amount that we charge for gas is reviewed monthly by our regulators. We only pass on cost increases that are approved by our regulators.
In short, our customers pay the same price that we do for the purchase of natural gas.
Tips and recommendations for managing your bill
Before the winter chill sets in, 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 budgeting relief. The Budget Plan helps you do just that—budget. You can plan more easily for other expenses with a predictable utility bill each month. Enroll at: https://www.washingtongas.com/budgetplan.
- Save on your energy consumption by implementing energy efficiency measures.
By preparing your furnacing for winter, taking an online home energy assessment or upgrading to high-efficiency appliances with rebates, you’re taking the first steps toward becoming more energy efficient. From replacing your water heater to adding weather stripping, even small changes can make a big difference in optimizing your energy, lowering your energy consumption and managing your bills. For up-to-date energy-saving solutions in your area, visit https://wgsmartsavings.com/.
- Apply for energy assistance.
Do you or someone you know need help with energy bills? 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. You have many options, and we are here to help! Learn more at https://www.washingtongascares.com/.
- Sign up for the Installment Plan.
If you still need assistance, the Installment Plan may also be the right fit for you. Eligible customers may be able to sign up for 12-month or 24-month payment plans to help manage their energy bills. To find out more, visit https://www.washingtongas.com/paymentplan.
As we adjust to changing weather and increasing gas prices, Washington Gas is here to help. Through our programs, energy efficiency solutions and customer experience expertise, we are committed to helping you navigate the evolving energy landscape and manage your energy bills.
For more energy-saving tips for the winter season, visit: https://www.washingtongas.com/safety-education/education/winter-preparedness