Natural gas markets in Michigan were opened to competition starting in 2001. Today, about 75% of the state has a choice of who provides their natural gas supply. So how does natural gas deregulation work in Michigan? Find out everything you need to know about your natural gas supply here!
Do You Have a Choice?
If you live within the service area of any one of the following utilities, you are eligible to choose your gas supplier:
- Consumers Energy
- MichCon (DTE Gas)
- Michigan Gas Utilities
What Deregulation Means for You
Deregulation of natural gas markets in Michigan means more competition in the natural gas supply market. This means:
- Greater choice of energy supplier
- Wider price options - choose a floating price, or lock in a fixed price
- Competition among suppliers, leading to lower prices and better customer service
What has not changed with deregulation is the operation of natural gas infrastructure. Your local gas utility still owns, operates, and maintains the storage and distribution network for natural gas, and the gas you receive will be the same, regardless of who your supplier is. You should not experience any interruptions or change in quality of your gas service if you decide to purchase energy from an alternative gas supplier.
Starting Natural Gas Service in Your Name in Michigan
Getting natural gas service put in your name is easy! Simply call your natural gas utility, and provide them with the following information:
- Your full name, and contact information (telephone numbe, email address)
- Your full address
- The date for starting service
- Social security number/government-issued ID (such as a driver's license)
Choosing an Alternative Gas Supplier in Michigan
Greater choice in your natural gas supply options can bring numerous advantages, such as savings and/or better customer service. However, so much choice can sometimes be overwhelming, and it may be difficult to determine the best deal out there. Here are a few tips to help guide you when you start shopping for energy:
Deregulation has brought you choice not only in who supplies your gas, but also what kind of price you pay for it. While customers who purchase regulated rate natural gas pay a variable rate, you have the choice of locking in a fixed price with an alternative gas supplier. As natural gas prices tend to be quite volatile, we recommend choosing a fixed price for your natural gas if you have the option.
Here are a few things to look out for when you're reading the terms and conditions of your natural gas contract:
Early Cancellation Fees?
Also known as "early exit fees" or "termination fees", this is a charge for leaving your (usually fixed price) contract before the end of its term.
Automatic Service Renewal
You should always check what your gas supplier's policy is for when your contract comes to an end. Some suppliers will automatically switch you back to the utility, while others will automatically renew you.
It's a good idea to check out how much of a late payment fee your chosen gas supplier charges, though you should always contact your gas supplier to see if you can make a special payment arrangement if you cannot pay your bill on time.
Ways to Communicate With Your Gas Supplier/Dispute Resolution
While it's unlikely that you will enter into a dispute with your gas supplier, it is a good idea to be aware of the various ways that you can get in touch with the company, as well as what you should do in the event of a problem.
Understand Your Natural Gas Bill in Michigan
Your natural gas bill can be broken down into three main types of charges:
- Charges related to your energy supply: these include your gas charge, which is based on the type of plan that you've signed up for (i.e. what rate) and how much gas you've used that month, and the customer service fee
- Charges to cover the costs of delivery: this covers the costs of distributing gas to your home
- Taxes and state surcharges: these may be flat sums, or variable (based on how much gas you have consumed in a month)
How Your Natural Gas Service Works in Michigan
Your natural gas service works in three main steps in Michigan:
Exploitation: Natural gas is exploited from the ground. It may be sold at this point to suppliers, or further along the service process
Transportation: once it is cleaned and processed, natural gas travels from its site of exploitation along pipelines until it reaches the distribution network. Sometimes it is stored for later use. Delivery and storage of natural gas remains regulated, and is the responsibility of your local utility
Final Use: the final stage of the process is when gas reaches your home to be used, whether for heating and/or cooking. How much gas you use is measured by your utility, and you are charged for your use based on the rate that you have agreed upon with your provider
Got a question about your gas supply in Michigan? Give us a call at 1 (347) 410-8789 to find out your best option for your natural gas supply in Michigan