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Your Home Heating Bill: Understanding What’s Above The Bottom Line

Posted on March 5, 2013

As you sit down with your pile of bills each month, you most likely glance over your charges for anything out of the ordinary before issuing payment. But what exactly are you looking at with regards to your home heating bill (the gas company bill for the majority of homes that use natural gas for heating)? Here is an easy-to-understand guide, to help solve the mystery.

The method

Your gas company doesn’t see much profit on the gas it sells you, but rather on the additional fees and services it charges. With energy costs continually fluctuating, some of the charges and terminology you see on your home heating bill may be based on the average cost over a specified time period.

The terminology

These are some of the more common terms you may see on your monthly bill; for any not listed here, check your gas provider’s website for a more detailed explanation:

  • BTU (or Btu) – Short for British Thermal Unit, this is a measurement of heat energy and may be used to show a comparison of usage between different types of fuels.
  • Therm – This stands for thermal unit, and is another, easier way of referencing the consumption of BTUs, with one therm equal to 100,000 BTUs.
  • Baseline allowance – Based on the average usage in your area, this is the amount your provider estimates will cover your basic needs. The lowest rate is charged for gas consumed within this allowance; usage over this amount is charged in higher increments based on a tiered rate.
  • Delivery service charge – The amount the company is charging to deliver the gas to your home.
  • Gas cost adjustment – This amount may show as a credit or a charge, depending on the company’s estimate of the price of gas in the near future. If a rise in fuel costs is predicted, you will be charged in advance, and if a drop is expected you will be issued a credit.

For more tips on how to read or lower your home heating bill, give us a call at Comfort Systems. We’ve been providing top quality service to residents of the Wichita area since 1953.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about understanding your heating bills and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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