Dear Therman: What About These Base Charges?

Ask Therman

Dear Therman:

As a long-time Atlanta resident, I only have to heat my home with natural gas for a few months out of the year—it’s pretty warm here most of the time. In the summer, I only use natural gas for cooking. So, my usage is pretty low, and, as one would expect, this is reflected in my monthly bill. What I don’t understand is why my base charges are higher than what I pay for the gas itself this time of year. Can you help me understand this a little better?

Signed,

COOKIN’ WITH GAS

Dear COOKIN’:

Infinite Energy supplies gas to many residents throughout the Peach Tree State, especially in Atlanta. But we don’t have much to do with how that gas is actually delivered to your home. This is handled by Atlanta Gas Light (AGL). They’re the ones who collect your base charge. And that doesn’t change for your location, no matter who you buy your natural gas from.

With AGL, a number of things go into determining the base charge they set for you. This charge covers the costs of such things as meter reading and maintaining gas lines. It also helps cover the cost AGL has to pay to cities and towns for the use of their public right-of-ways, environmental cleanup costs and to ensure that there’s enough natural gas storage capacity.

This last factor, storage capacity, is based on something called the Dedicated Design Day Capacity (DDDC). This charge helps cover the costs associated with ensuring that there’s enough capacity in gas lines and at storage facilities to supply your needs and those of others. And because it’s most critical to have natural gas for heating during freezing weather, the DDDC charge is based on your usage on the coldest day of the year. This helps AGL know what your highest natural gas consumption would be. It’s readjusted each year in September.

There’s a lot that goes into base charges, and they’re not directly based on your usage. But you can calculate what they should be with this tool from AGL. I hope that helps.

Sincerely,

Therman

Got questions for Therman? Send them to Marketing@InfiniteEnergy.com.