Atmos Energy wants to change the way you pay for natural gas. If passed, Atmos says the new rate structure will be the first of its kind in Texas. Customers would be able to choose how they want to pay for gas.
"Today we bill our customers two ways, the base charge and we have a delivery fee," says Dan Alderson, with Atmost Energy.
Right now, only 20 percent of your gas bill goes to Atmos Energy each month, that's a delivery cost. The other 80 percent of your bill is for how much natural gas you used, that part of the bill isn't changing.
The proposal is to give customers two options. Choose Option A and you will pay a base charge of $8.05. You will also be charged about $.16 for how much gas you're delivered. That's per hundred cubic feet. Then you will pay for your gas usage.
Choose Option B and you will have a flat charge of $16.80 a month. You will also pay for your gas usage. This option takes away the additional delivery fee but has a higher base charge.
So which plan should you choose? Customers who use 670 cubic feet of gas a year or more will automatically be placed on Option B.
Atmos Director of Public Affairs, Dan Alderson explains.
"I use around 1,000 at my home per year. I'll be placed on Option B so I'll end up paying for service and delivery $201.60, but I need to make real clear that our residential customers understand that they'll still pay gas costs," says Alderson.
City Council and customers will learn more about the proposal at a hearing on Thursday but some have already formed an opinion.
"I'm real positive on what they've proposed. It stabilizes the rates for citizens, for the consumers it gives them a choice of Option A or Option B depending on the the size of user. It certainly stabilizes for the city, the income and then for Atmos, it gives them a band of a reasonable profit," says Mayor David Miller.
"I haven't seen a benefit to the citizens. They're saying some will pay less some will pay more. I'm not sure how that will pan out. All I know is right now increasing the base rate is a huge advantage to Atmos where I don't' see a benefit to citizens," says City Councilman John Leonard.
But Atmos officials say they are simply asking for a fair rate of return for their services.
"We need customers to consume gas in order to earn a rate of return for delivery and service of natural gas to their homes. By law we don't make money off the gas," says Alderson.
If approved, Atmos customers can change their plan once a year.
If you would like to attend the public hearing and learn more about the rate plan, it will begin at 10:00 a.m. Thursday at City Hall.
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