Deregulation In Georgia

Choose EnergyEnergy 101Deregulation In Georgia

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In order to understand the process of deregulation, the first thing you will have to know is exactly what this means. Deregulation is a way of making gas companies offer the consumer a more viable price for the service they provide. Including ways of promoting their business, such as specials for new customers, this saves the customer money by helping to lower the monthly rates they pay for natural gas.Who Regulates the Companies?The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) is still responsible for regulating the gas to make sure the safest standards are in place. Georgia promoted the deregulation taking the initiative to get customers to choose the provider they wanted. However, those who did not choose were given a provider by the state.Competitive PricesOne of the benefits of deregulation was the competition it provided. The previous way only allowed customers one choice, which was often expensive. By providing a choice, consumers are provided with gas that is considered excess. In short, the natural gas is available because it is not under contract to another company.By comparing plans among the service providers, you may choose a rate for the natural gas you buy and opt to lock in the price. This is a fixed rate. The advantages to choosing this type of plan is you will know what you are paying every month. Even if gas prices rise, you have the rate locked in for the period of the contract. Some of these plans can be as long as 3 years.

If you decide to go with the variable rate, there are no contracts. This plan is one that offers a competitive price and is quite easily changed if you decide to switch to the fixed rate or cancel and go with another provider. The competition makes it possible to change energy providers without having to turn the utility off and wait to have it reconnected. Gas Georgia offers the option of comparing rates from different providers and their fixed rates.

Structure of the Natural Gas Market

Quite similar to other services provided, the natural gas market is based on supply and demand. The demand regulates the production of the natural gas and often results in higher prices. The supply of natural gas is not like other commodities where production can just be increased. With natural gas the drilling and permits can take time.

Also, the wells already in production are not guaranteed to be active. They may begin to produce less, which means drilling elsewhere for the natural gas that is being used by consumers. Adjusting the supplies to meet the demand is a complicated process. The recent state of the economy has resulted in a decrease in the demand.

Choosing a Natural Gas Provider in Georgia

This is an easy process that can be done over the Internet or the telephone. Once you have found the service provider you want all you have to do is put in your order. The enrollment service will result in a package being mailed to you specifying the terms as well as the contract if you opt for a fixed rate plan.

All marketers of natural gas are certified by the Public Service Commission to sell gas in the state of Georgia. The Commission has a scorecard they issue each month that answers questions received about the different marketers for natural gas. The card also lists any complaints they have received by the category. This includes deceptive marketing, service and billing. This allows the consumer to see which companies are doing the best job. Although, the complaints are not always the fault of the marketer and whether the complaints are valid cannot be determined until they investigate.

Deregulation has been a welcome change for the state of Georgia. The ability to choose the natural gas provider and type of plan is seen by many consumers as a welcome change from being tied to one company. The competition provides better rates, among other benefits for many natural gas consumers.

Deregulation Bill Passed

Senate Bill 215 was signed in 1997 by Zell Miller, Governor of Georgia. The deregulation did not actually start until 1998. Atlanta Gas & Light was the seller and the distributor of natural gas before deregulation. This state was the first one in the U.S. to endeavor to deregulate natural gas.

After the Natural Gas Competition and Regulation Act (ACT) was passed, selling natural gas was offered to companies approved to do so. AGL still distributes the gas and maintains the pipeline for the service, but other marketers can sell the natural gas. One for example, is Stream Energy.