Frequently Asked Questions
|From billing or deposit issues to questions about gas rates, issues associated with the natural gas and propane industry can be extensive as well as confusing. The following is a list of the most frequently asked questions gas customers in Arizona have concerning their gas service.|
|What are all these charges on my bill?|
|Have you ever wondered what all the charges on your monthly bill are for? What about specific terminology used on your bill? The following is a list of explanations for the regulated charges on your bill.|
Basic Service Charge/Customer Charge:This is a flat monthly fee representing some of the fixed costs that go into making gas available at your home of business, regardless of your usage, the time of year or market prices.
Billing Factor: The billing factor is used to convert the amount of gas into units of heat energy, which are called therms. This calculation ensures that all customers are charged equally for the heating value of the gas they use.
Gas Usage: This represents the cost per therm of gas you use. These rates are set by the Arizona Corporation Commission after we examine all of the company's costs of providing service. A portion of this rate reflects what the Commission determined was the cost of purchasing gas at the time the rate was set.
Rate Adjustment: This is a surcharge that covers costs associated with certain residential conservation and low-income programs. The ACC limits how much the surcharge can be adjusted up or down each month.
Monthly Gas Cost Adjustment: While the rate adjustment deals with past costs, the monthly gas cost adjustment adjusts up or down to reflect the difference between current supplier prices and the gas usage rate.
Purchased Gas Adjustor: The PGA cost reflects the difference between the base cost of gas (already built into the gas company's gas usage rates) and the company's actual cost of the natural gas commodity. It is a mathematical calculation that factors the actual cost of natural gas on a 12-month rolling average. Click here for more information about PGA surcharges.
|What does the company need from me to start service?|
|Rule R14-2-303A of the Arizona Administrative Code states that the utility company may obtain specific minimum information from you prior to establishing new service. Here are some examples:|
|Do I have to give my social security number?|
|You do not have to give your social security number to establish service. However, if the company is not able to retrieve sufficient credit information without your social security number, a deposit may be required.|
|Can a company require a deposit?|
|Yes, but not always. Deposits are not required if you meet certain conditions outlined in the Arizona Administrative Code Rule R14-2-303B1. If you are unable to meet those conditions, a deposit may be required. Likewise, if you are delinquent in the payment of 3 or more bills within a 12-consecutive month period or have been disconnected during the last 12 months, the utility can require a deposit. See R14-2-303B for more information.|
|Are the deposit limits controlled?|
|Yes. Rule R14-2-303B6 of the Arizona Administrative Code states that the amount of a residential customer's deposit shall not exceed two times your estimated average bill. Non-residential or business customer deposits shall not exceed two and one-half times the estimated average bill.|
|When is my deposit refunded?|
|Your utility deposit will normally be refunded to you after 12 consecutive months of payments on time, or when you discontinue service.|
|Can a utility company require a deposit from an established customer?|
|Yes. The utility company may require you to post a deposit if you have been late paying your bill three or more times within a 12-consecutive-month period or if you have been disconnected during the last 12 months. See R-14-2-303B5.|
|How often will I be billed?|
|The rules require utilities to bill you monthly. Meter readings are to be taken for periods not less than 25 days and not more than 35 days. See R-14-2-310A1.|
|When is my utility bill due?|
|Your bill is due and payable within ten calendar days from the date the bill was rendered. If you fail to pay your bill within this time frame, your bill will be considered past due. See Rule R14-2-310C1.|
|How are gas rates set?|
|The Arizona Corporation Commission sets rates that provide the company a fair rate of return while balancing the needs of ratepayers. Rate cases are lengthy processes that begin with a company's application stating what they would like the new rate to be along with supporting testimony as to why the increase is justified. Then the Commission staff and other interested parties begin examining and auditing all of the costs associated with providing service in Arizona. Rate cases typically involve months of sworn testimony, audits and examinations to ensure that the basis for the rate is legal and justified. Ultimately, the Commissioners vote on the rates in public Open Meetings.|
|Can the utility company disconnect my service?|
|Yes, there are certain conditions under which the utility can disconnect you. Rule R14-2-311 of the Arizona Administrative Code states that after proper notice, the utility company may disconnect your service if you are in violation of any of the utility's tariffs, or for reasons such as:|
Failure to pay a delinquent bill.
|In addition, a utility company may disconnect service without notice for any of the following reasons:|
The existence of an obvious hazard to the safety or health of the consumer or the general population.
|I'm concerned that I won't be able to pay my entire bill this month. Are payment plans available?|
|In some cases, yes. The rules allow a utility company to offer to a qualified customer, prior to termination, a deferred payment plan. You would need to contact your utility company to see if you qualify. Utilities are not required to offer deferred payment plans but many do.|
|How much notice does the gas company have to give before disconnecting service?|
|This depends on the circumstances. If there are obvious safety hazards, gas service can be terminated immediately. If the utility has evidence of meter tampering or fraud, they can cut your service without notice. Generally, other circumstances require at least five days' written notice prior to the termination date. See R14-2-311E.|
|Can the gas company disconnect my service on a weekend or holiday?|
|Though not an Arizona Corporation Commission regulation, it is the policy of many gas companies not to disconnect service on weekends and banking holidays, unless there is a hazardous situation.|
|What if I can't pay my bill?|
|If you are faced with a hardship and cannot pay your bill, contact your gas company as soon as possible by calling the number on your bill. Advise them of your situation. They may work with you in offering a payment plan that you can afford. This is one of those times when a good payment history can really work in your favor.|
|Are there any financial assistance programs?|
|There are several local and statewide programs designed to help low-income individuals or people enduring a specific financial hardship. For more information, click here.|
|Are there any programs that provide financial assistance on deposits?|
|The Utility Repair Replacement and Deposit Program (URRD) provides financial assistance on utility deposits in crisis situations. Call the Arizona Department of Economic Security toll free on 1-800-582-5706 for information on eligibility requirements and information as to the closest social service agency near you that can assist you in the application process.|
|How does the gas company know how much gas I've used?|
|The gas company is required to read your meter every month. There are certain situations during which estimates can be used according to R14-2-310A2. Estimates are based on your usage during the same month of the prior year and your usage during the preceding month. The next bill containing an actual read will adjust for any over or under estimation from the previous month. Below is information about your gas meter.|
|How do I read my meter?|
|Gas meters are the only means of measuring how much gas you use. It's useful to know how to read them. That way you can make sure meter readers do their job correctly. In those cases when a meter reader cannot get in to read your meter and your bill is based on an estimated reading, you will be able to check the utility's estimate to make sure it is in line with what you actually used. If it is not, you can have your bill adjusted accordingly. The next bill containing an actual read will adjust for any usage over or under the estimate.|
|To read your gas meter, follow these easy steps:|
|1) Face the meter and read the dials from left to right. Please note that each dial turns in the direction opposite the dial next to it. There should be small arrows indicating the direction of motion.|
|2) Record the numbers for each dial following these rules:|
|When the hand on the dial is between two numbers, always record the smaller number. If the hand is on or very close to a number, record the smaller of the two numbers. For example: If the dial is between 0 and 1 and moving toward the 1, record the 0 because it has not passed 1. If the dial is between 0 and 9 and moving towards the 0, the correct reading is 9.|
|3) Your consumption can be determined by subtracting your previous reading from your present reading. This will give you the volume of gas used in hundreds of cubic feet.|
|How can I find out if my meter is accurate?|
|Contact your utility company. There are several ways to verify the accuracy of a meter. A gas meter can be used in Arizona only if it is a type approved by the American National Standards Institute code. To ensure that only accurate meters are used in the State of Arizona, the Commission:|
|1. Verifies the accuracy of utility meter-testing devices to standards certified by the National Bureau of Standards.|
|2. Monitors utility plans for the routine maintenance and replacement of meters, which meet the requirements of the code for gas metering.|
|3. Ensures that each utility files an annual report, including surveys of the results of the meter maintenance and testing program for that year.|
|Can I file a complaint against a gas company?|
|Yes, click here to learn about the complaint process.|
|We were notified that our water or sewer company wants to change their rates. How can I have input on this?|
|You can always call the Arizona Corporation Commission and speak with a representative of our Consumer Services Section to find out more information about the gas company's proposed rate increase. Your comments become part of the data that the Commissioners review prior to making their decision. Our staff can also assist you or your community with procedures for filing petitions, arranging for a public comment session or providing information on becoming an official party to the case (called "intervention").|
|Click here for a Public Utilities Comments Form|
|Click here for an Intervention Guideline Form|