There are many factors which contribute to the price you see in your natural gas bill. You aren’t just paying for the cost of gas itself (which changes according to a number of economic factors), but also the cost of storing it, transporting it, as well as adjustments made due to expected future changes in cost. This breakdown is designed to help you better understand some of these contributing factors.
Types of Natural Gas Bill Charges
There are three main categories of charges and fees which factor into your bill:
- Gas Supply Charge: This is what you pay for the gas itself. If you purchase your gas from your local utility, you are charged according to the regulated rate imposed by the Ontario Energy Board. If you purchase gas from a commercial retailer, then you will charged according to the rate you agreed to in your contract.
- Delivery Charge: Delivery charges cover the total cost of natural gas storage, transportation, and distribution.
- Customer charges: These are charges regulated by the Ontario Energy Board that you must pay, regardless of how much natural gas you have used. This charge covers administrative costs such as system maintenance, customer service, and meter reading.
When the cost of any of these factors changes, the overall price you pay on your natural gas bill changes as well. Overall, the prices paid by Ontario consumers for natural gas have been on the decline over the last decade. This is largely due to a major decline in the market rate of natural gas, which has had a major impact on consumer prices, from a high of over 40 cents per cubic metre in early 2006, down to a roughly a quarter of that ten years later. However, prices are subject to seasonal changes in demand, which can unexpectedly send prices soaring in the space of a month or two.
What’s in Your Natural Gas Bill?
Natural gas bills contain a lot of information, which can make it difficult to understand or to track down a specific piece of information. While the appearance and layout of your natural gas bill may vary, depending on where you live in Ontario and who your local utility is, just about everyone’s bill will contain the following information.
Account Number: The number that your gas company uses to track your consumption. If you ever have a question about your bill, or want to pay your bill online or over the phone, you’ll need to provide this number.
Meter Number: The gas meter on every building in Ontario has a unique identifying number. For those who don’t have smart meters, the meter number is used by meter readers to identify the customer when reporting their natural gas consumption.
Service Address: The address being billed for gas consumption.
Statement Due: The date on which the bill was printed and sent out. Any charges or payments after this date won’t be reflected on the bill.
Amount Due: The total amount that you are being charged for gas service.
Due Date: The date on which your payment is due. You may be assessed interest or late fees for any unpaid balance remaining after this date.
Billing Summary: A log of your account activity, including recent charges and payments.
Charges: A breakdown of the charges contributing to your total amount due. This will include what you owe for your gas usage, the gas cost adjustment for any difference between previous payments and the actual cost of gas at that time, transportation costs, and more. For more information, see the section at the top of the page.
HST: The 13% Harmonized Sales Tax, which is applied to the total amount due.
If you ever change your natural gas provider—use our Ontario energy rate comparison form to find what competitive rates are available in your area—you will continue to receive the same natural gas bill. The only details that will change will be the name and phone number of your natural gas supplier, and your natural gas rate.