The intent of the Natural Gas Competition and Deregulation Act of 1997 was to encourage municipal, privately held companies, and retail market resellers of natural gas to competitively price GA natural gas rates. This allowed resellers to market gas on Atlanta Gas Light’s pipeline service network. Customers in Georgia can now choose which reseller they are going to buy their gas from. They can also choose between different types of pricing plans, and, to some extent, control their own spending.
Deregulation has proven beneficial for everyone in Georgia. Deregulation forces companies to offer better prices, specials, and promotions that will attract customers to their service plans. This protects consumer interests against inflated profit margins. True, companies that sell gas should make a profit on their product like anyone else. However, the freedom that consumers have to choose between so many different options helps maintain a balance between what is best for service providers and what is best for residents.
Deregulation of GA natural gas rates, then, has proven to be a win-win for everyone since it was implemented more than a decade ago.
Competitive pricing is not the only benefit people gain from deregulation. Because there are now 10 natural gas resellers operating in the state of Georgia, customers can switch their service provider without their services being interrupted. Customers can also choose to pay for gas on a variable rate plan or a fixed rate plan.
When wholesale prices of gas are low, a variable rate plan will pass on savings to customers. However, if the price goes up too much, the cost to the customer also goes up. Fixed rate plans are preferred by a large number of people because they offer a guaranteed rate on contract. Regardless of what the market does in terms of wholesale prices, GA natural gas rates on fixed rate plans remain constant for the duration of the contract.
Switching your service provider will not interrupt a resident’s supply of natural gas. However, breaking a contract will carry financial penalties, so it is wise to shop around before committing to a plan. People often sign up for one plan, only to learn that another service provider has fixed rates at a better price point. If they break contract, however, the penalties outweigh the savings that could be earned on another plan.
Sometimes people save a great deal of money on variable rate plans because they sign on with a reseller when wholesale prices are low. Several months go by, and GA natural gas rates remain low. These residents will pay much less than their neighbors on fixed rates plans—that is, of course, until wholesale rates spike unexpectedly.
The best chance of saving money lies with a month to month variable rate plan which can be switched to a fixed rate contract at any time. MXEnergy offers this courtesy at no cost to clients. While we do expect our clients to fulfill contract terms, they are never obligated to remain on a variable rate plan if GA natural gas rates on the wholesale market climb too high.
Instead, they can start out at a low price point, and then when prices rise, find a comfortable median at which to continue paying for their services at a guaranteed rate for a predictable period of time.