Natural Gas Service

Considering Switching to Natural Gas? - Natural Gas Service Territories - Gas Supply Pricing by Company

The Public Advocate and Staff have been active for many years in proceedings concerning the availability, pricing and transmission of natural gas in Maine. These activities include both proceedings pertaining to pipeline natural gas pricing at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Portland Natural Gas Transmission System, Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline LLC, Granite State Gas Transmission) and retail gas proceedings before the Maine PUC (Northern Utilities/Unitil, Summit Natural Gas, Maine Natural Gas, Bangor Gas).

Considering Switching to Natural Gas?

Here are some questions to ask before making your decision:

  1. How does natural gas compare to my current fuel costs?
    http://www.maine.gov/energy/fuel_prices/heating-calculator.php
  2. What are my direct costs?
    a. Conversion of heating system and appliances? Converting an existing system to gas starts at around $2,000. Upgrading to a new system can cost between $8,000-$10,000.
    b. Cost to extend service main into neighborhood?
    c. Installation costs to run a service line from the main to the house?
    d. Hook-up costs to connect the house to the service line?
  3. What are my responsibilities in coordinating the process?
  4. What is the timeline for installation?
  5. What contractors can do the work in the area?

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Natural Gas Service Territories

natural gas service area web map
Download a PDF version of the map here.

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Gas Supply Pricing by Company

Maine’s natural gas utilities purchase gas supply on behalf of all residential and many business customers. Unlike the cost of delivering gas, which is regulated and priced at rates set by the PUC, these gas supply prices are based on the market prices of natural gas. The gas utility passes the cost of gas supply through to consumers, and the PUC ensures that they do not earn a profit (or incur a loss) on these purchases. Gas purchases are based on estimated usage for the coming season. Utilities employ a true-up mechanism that ensures there is no over- or under-collecting if the market conditions change over the course of the contract. The true-up mechanism applies any over or undercollection to your rates in the next season. Each Maine gas utility’s mechanism is different, as described below.

Bangor Gas Cost of Gas Rate Monthly cost of gas rate
Rate Period Monthly
True-up Cost of gas rate adjusted each month based on the estimated over-recovery or under-recovery balance at the end if the previous month, subject to a cap.
Maine Natural Gas Cost of Gas Rates Monthly (Index Price Option) and annual (Fixed Price Option) cost of gas rates
For more information on these options, see below.
FPO Rate Period September - August
True-up Annual adjustment based on the over-recovery or under-recovery balance at the end of June.
Summit Natural Gas Cost of Gas Rate Annual cost of gas rate, with mid-period adjustment, if needed.
Rate Period October - September
True-up Annual adjustment based on the over-recovery or under-recovery balance at the end of June.
Unitil/Northern Cost of Gas Rates Separate peak and off-peak rates
Rate Periods Peak Period: November - April
Off-Peak Period: May - October
True-up Over-recovery or under-recovery during peak/off-peak period is an adjustment to the cost of gas rate for the next peak/off-peak period.

 

Maine Natural Gas customers have two pricing options available for their gas supply. Choosing between the Fixed Price Option and the Indexed Price Option can be confusing. We offer the following information to help you understand your choice.

 

  Fixed price option (FPO) Indexed price option (IPO)
Definition Customer usage is estimated for the upcoming season resulting in a price that is locked in for the length of the contract The company secures a certain percentage of the gas supply needs in advance, but the remaining balance is bought at the current market price. This results in a price that changes monthly
If market price increases Contract price remains the same Indexed price increases
If market price decreases Contract price remains the same Indexed price decreases
Comments FPO allows for more budget certainty, but customers pay above market prices in the spring, summer and fall. Customers will pay below market prices in the winter IPO rises and falls with the market leaving customers open to higher costs or greater savings depending on the market conditions.

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