If you move or decide to shop around for another natural gas service provider, you'll often be given two choices, whether to go with a fixed-rate or variable-rate plan.
A fixed-rate plan gives you the ability to lock into a monthly pricing plan that won't change during the length of the contract. Contracts typically extend for one year, but there also are six- and 18-month plans, depending on the natural gas retailer. The per-therm rate you'll pay each month will stay the same during your contract, even if natural gas prices increase.
A fixed-rate plan can take the guess work out of budgeting for your natural gas expenses. While your bill could increase or decrease, depending on your usage, the rate you'll be paying will remain constant.
This differs from a variable-rate plan, in which the per-therm rate could fluctuate each month, depending on natural gas prices. Often a fixed-rate plan can have a slightly higher per-therm rate on average than a variable-rate plan.
One benefit of a fixed-rate plan is that you'll have a better idea of how to budget for your natural gas costs. However, if you decide to cancel your service before your contact has expired, you may be charged an early termination fee.
Some natural gas providers offer a fixed flex rate pricing option. This plan often allows you to adjust your per-therm rate once during the course of your contract. If per-therm rates decrease, you're able to take advantage of the savings by choosing the best available rate.
There can be ways to save money by selecting a longer fixed-rate plan. Sometimes natural gas service providers will offer incentives in order to keep you as a customer for a longer period of time. Senior citizens also may qualify for discounts off their monthly fixed-rate plan.
Make sure to pay attention to mailings you receive from your natural gas service provider. The provider will send a reminder when your fixed-rate contract is about to expire. If you haven't signed up for a new fixed-rate plan or are planning to switch providers, your existing provider can switch you to a variable-rate plan by default. This could be a higher rate than what you're paying under your fixed-rate plan.
Under Georgia law, consumers have until the 19th of each month to switch natural gas service providers in order for it to become effective on the first of the next month. Georgia consumers have the right to switch natural gas service providers once during any 12-month period without paying an Atlanta Gas Light switch fee.
Check out fixed-rate plans here.