What is Gas Transportation Service (GTS)?
Under GTS, you will have the option of purchasing your gas from a supplier. We (Columbia Gas) will continue to deliver the natural gas to your facility, but the purchase function will be handled by the company of your choice. This method of natural gas purchasing is similar to the telecommunications industry where you choose a long distance provider.
Why would I buy my gas from someone other than Columbia Gas?
There might be an opportunity to save money on your gas cost. Suppliers are not subject to the state utility commission pricing regulations and can price their gas differently than we can. Under the federal and state regulations, gas costs are passed through to all sales customers on an average basis, dollar-for-dollar. We are not permitted to “mark-up” gas costs. We derive our income from the delivery of gas through its distribution system to both sales and transportation customers. You are our customer whether you purchase traditional sales service from us, or choose to purchase it from a third party supplier.
What is included in the cost of my natural gas service?
First, there’s the cost of the natural gas itself. We refer to this as the “commodity cost.” Next comes the “transportation cost’. This is the cost of delivering the natural gas from the supplier or producer to the Columbia distribution system. It includes fixed or demand charges to reserve the pipelines capacity needed to transport and store your gas when you need it. And lastly, we have the “distribution cost”. This is the cost of delivering gas to your facility. It includes not only the actual delivery costs, but also such items as pipeline maintenance, system upgrading, meter reading, and billing. When you enter the GTS program, you are essentially purchasing the gas or commodity from a supplier of your choice, rather than from us. Transportation costs remain the same, as do the costs associated with the distribution service.
How do I sign up for Gas Transportation?
Choose a supplier. You may contact Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077 and request a list of qualified suppliers. You may also check your local Yellow Pages and/or internet. Your chosen supplier will forward the necessary paperwork to you for your approval. This will include a Gas Transportation Service Agreement between you and Columbia, Detailing your service options, volume requirements, service address, account contact information, and the name of your supplier. You may also be required to execute an agreement with your supplier. Your supplier is responsible for returning the Gas Transportation Service Agreement to us for future processing.
Would I save money if I purchase gas from a different supplier?
Costs vary from supplier to supplier. This is something you would need to discuss with potential suppliers.
Why can another supplier offer natural gas at a lower price than Columbia Gas?
We are a regulated utility required to price gas on an average basis to all customers. We also must include certain fixed charges relative to reliability of delivery. By purchasing gas from another supplier, you can tailor the level of service reliability and your supplier can target particular gas supplies to satisfy your needs.
Will you continue to deliver the natural gas if I buy it from someone else?
As long as your supplier arranges delivery from the well head to our distribution lines, we will deliver the gas to you.
Sounds like I can’t lose, but what about Columbia Gas? How will it affect you guys if I buy my gas from other suppliers?
It will not affect us. In fact, we want you to have the choice of purchasing your gas from other sources. There is no profit for us in the cost of gas; that cost is simply passed along to the customer dollar-for-dollar, our income is derived from the delivery of gas to our customers, and that is not affected by who our customers choose to purchase their gas from.
Will I get two bills-one from the supplier and one from you guys?
No. You will receive two bills from us and one from your supplier. Your sales bill from us(blue shaded background) will, among other things, reflect your consumption and meter reading information, but should not contain current month charges once you switch to GTS. Your GTS bill from us (green shaded background) will reflect your transportation charges or the cost of delivering the gas to your facility. This could also include a commodity charge from us, which occurs when your supplier falls short in delivering enough gas to your facility. Some suppliers offer a bill-consolidation service allowing you to receive only one bill. This is something you may want to investigate further with potential suppliers.
Columbia Gas has always been able to supply the natural gas that I have wanted and needed. Is there any chance that another supplier might not be as reliable if we have an exceptionally cold winter or other emergency?
Yes. However, there are safeguards and if you would like to take advantage of them, you may contact us to purchase “Backup Service” or you may install an alternative fuel source. We suggest you talk to one of our local representatives as well as any potential suppliers about these options. If I decide to buy my gas from another supplier and it does not work out, will you all take me back? We can provide you gas under our normal system supply rate schedules, provided that: Your return to system supply does not negatively impact the rate non-transportation customers pay, You are willing to absorb any increased costs caused by your return to sales service, and You give proper notice per the Gas Transportation Service Agreement and tariff.
Changing suppliers is a big decision. What advice can you offer?
Be sure you fully understand any arrangement that you agree to and understand the terms of the agreement you sign.
If I do decide to choose another supplier, what is my next step?
Once you have chosen a supplier, that supplier will provide you with the necessary paperwork to participate and enroll in GTS. We will process the contract once we receive the agreement and all of the necessary information from you and/or your supplier.