Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gas Prices Dropping?

Both Equitable and Dominion have announced natural gas price drops. I personally am in Equitable territory, and I couldn't help but notice that Dominion's new price is significantly lower than Equitable's new price.

What do I think to myself?

Sweet, we live in the age of "Energy Choice". I can't pick my distributor, but I can pick my supplier. I'm going to save 20% on my gas this winter by choosing Dominion as my supplier instead of Equitable.

The reality?

I call up Dominion, and they inform that their pricing for Equitable customers is completely different than for customers they supply gas for. In fact, instead of the $9.63/MCF commodity charge, I would be charged $14/MCF - about the same as I am charged with Equitable. The $14 may or may not include the extra $1.61/MCF gas cost adjustment. I didn't get a clear answer on that one. If it doesn't, it's higher than I'm paying with Equitable.

I sure wish someone would explain to me how this travesty came to occur. If the utility companies are forced to "not make a profit" and need to adjust their prices quarterly to do so, how come Equitable is so much more expensive than Dominion? And how come Dominion can charge me more than they charge the customers they supply? These are the questions I'll be asking myself when my already high gas bill is 22% higher this winter than last winter and also coincidentally 22% higher than it would be if Dominion was my supplier. That's a few hundred dollars that I would have preferred to use for something else.

The latest news for Equitable? They're moving to downtown Pittsburgh. How did they get the money for it? Are they using the 22% profit they're making on me and thousands of other Pittsburgh residents? No, they're getting state and local subsidies for the move. Oh, well. Maybe some day I'll understand how this trickle-down economy works, but this winter, I'll be lowering the thermostat and putting on a sweater.


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