Choosing a Natural Gas Supplier - New York
Safe delivery. Safe service. Even when you switch.
Did you know you have the option of where you buy your natural gas?
Because of deregulation, you have the choice to purchase your natural gas supply (which makes up approximately half of your overall bill) from the utility or from a non-utility natural gas marketer. Whatever decision you make, you can feel safe knowing that National Fuel will still be there to deliver your gas, even if the supplier you choose isn't us. It's still our job to deliver natural gas to your home or business. We'll continue to maintain the pipeline network that keeps your shower hot, your clothes dry and cooks your dinner. So even if you decide to purchase gas from someone else, you should continue to report gas emergencies and other safety problems to our 24-hour number at 1-800-444-3130.
Making A Choice
When considering other natural gas suppliers, you should take the same approach as you would in contracting for other services for your home. Ask about rates, request references and take the time to speak with current customers. To help you with this process, we have composed a list of questions to ask Marketers. To view our list of questions, click here.
If you choose to buy gas from a marketer, National Fuel will send you a letter to confirm your intent. Your account will be updated automatically, and you will receive your future bills from either National Fuel or the marketer, if it provides that service.
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) and National Fuel must authorize natural gas suppliers seeking to sell natural gas to customers on our utility pipeline system. Although we cannot recommend a particular supplier or guarantee its performance, we can provide you with a list of authorized marketers. To view this list of authorized marketers, please see below.
For more information about energy competition, visit the PSC on the Web at http://www.askpsc.com. You may contact the PSC's Helpline at 1-800-342-3377 if you would like to make an inquiry or file a complaint about your service. If you have a complaint about your non-utility supplier, contact the PSC at 1-888-697-7728.
Understanding Your Gas Bill
Under the traditional arrangement, National Fuel purchases gas for you, passes on that cost without mark up, and delivers the gas supply to you at a regulated rate that includes our costs of doing business. To assist you in understanding your natural gas bill so that you can make a choice of natural gas suppliers, and to help you differentiate between your supplier costs and the delivery costs, your bill format lists Gas Supply Charges and Delivery Service Charges separately. Click here to view a sample of what this section may look like on your bill.
Gas Supply Charges
are the actual costs of the natural gas you purchased from National Fuel, or, if you choose, from an authorized Marketer.
Delivery Service Charges
are the costs of delivering gas to you through National Fuel's pipeline system, which is owned and operated by the Utility. These costs are regulated by the state regulatory agencies in New York and Pennsylvania and are the same price for all of our customers, no matter which supplier you choose.
If you choose to purchase your gas from another supplier, National Fuel will be notified of your decision and we will send you a letter confirming your intent to switch. Your account will be updated automatically and depending on the supplier, you may receive a separate bill for your gas supply from your new gas provider and a bill for the delivery service from National Fuel.
Questions to Ask Gas Suppliers
When considering natural gas suppliers, you should use the same thorough approach you take in contracting other services for your home or business. The more research you do, the more educated your decision will be. Here is a list of questions designed to help you make a choice that is right for you:
- Were you found eligible by the New York State Public Service Commission or Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, as applicable, and National Fuel to provide sales service in National Fuel's service territory? (Please note that National Fuel's determination of eligibility is not an endorsement of that supplier's service or reputation).
- How long have you been a natural gas supplier? How many customers do you have?
- What are your rates and how do they compare to my current rates?
- Are your prices fixed, or can they go up or down during the year as gas costs change?
- What are my payment options? Do you have balanced billing, direct pay or accept credit card payments? Do you charge for these services?
- What is the term of the contract? Will I be penalized if I break the contract?
- What happens if I move from my current address?
- Does your price include all fees and taxes? Do you assess a late payment charge?
- How can I be sure that my bills are accurate?
- Is a basic service charge assessed even if I don't use any gas?
- Can an energy assistance grant like LIHEAP/HEAP or Neighbor for Neighbor be applied to my account?
- How will I be billed? Will I receive a consolidate bill or separate bills from the Utility and the Marketer?
- Who will I call for billing questions? What are your business hours?
- Do you provide any other energy-related services?
- What happens if your company folds while I am under contract with you?
- Will your price be less than what I would have paid as a customer of National Fuel?
- What special services do you offer handicapped, elderly or payment-troubled customers?
- Do you have a special low-income or senior citizen discount rate?
- Do you offer discounts based on gas volume used?
- Do you have a small business rate?
- Where do you obtain your gas supplies?
- Will I be required to pay a security deposit or make advance payments?
- Are you authorized to terminate my gas service without initiating a transfer of my service back to the utility?
Authorized Gas Suppliers
Please click on one of the links below to find a listing of authorized suppliers by category:
- New York Suppliers currently accepting customers
- New York Suppliers That Have Informed Us That They Are NOT currently accepting customers
National Fuel Photo Identification
National Fuel would like to remind its customers that persons coming to their home on behalf of the Utility carry photo identification.
- National Fuel's employees DO have need to visit customers' homes for operational purposes including meter reading, construction work and in the case of an emergency. These persons will carry an identification card and will produce that identification without resistance if asked for it.
- National Fuel employees do NOT visit customers' homes to discuss account matters, to view a customer's gas bill or to ask them to sign any sort of agreement.
- Click here for tips from the New York State Consumer Protection Board on door-to-door sales of natural gas supplies.
Click here to learn more.
A Note About Consumer Protection Changes – New York
As a general rule, customers purchasing gas from marketers receive the same consumer protections as the customers who purchase gas from the Utility. There are, however, important differences. The primary difference is that gas service from a competitive supplier is governed by a contract between you and the supplier. The price under that contract is not subject to the oversight of the PSC. In addition, unlike utilities, all competitive suppliers are not obligated to provide service to all qualified applicants. And finally, unlike utilities, competitive suppliers are allowed to abandon service or end operations without the prior approval of the PSC.
To view your Rights and Responsibilities as a natural gas customer, click here.
To view the PSC's ESC Consumers Bill of Rights, click here.
New York Energy Competition
The PSC adopted the "Customer Choice" program in 1996 giving natural gas customers the option to purchase gas from their utility or a non-utility natural gas supplier. We encourage you to research this option and if you have any questions, please call us.
For more information about energy competition in New York state, click here to be directed to the PSC's Web site. You may contact the PSC's Helpline at 1-800-342-3377 if you would like to make an inquiry or file a complaint about your service. If you have a complaint about your non-utility supplier, contact the PSC at 1-888-697-7728.
National Fuel, in collaboration with the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and the PSC, has led an effort to bring the benefits of natural gas competition to some of the area's neediest low-income customers. This effort, called the Public Assistance Cooperative for Energy, or PACE Program, initially started with about 8,000 residential customers in Erie and Chautauqua counties in April 1998, with Niagara County joining in later in 1999.
Under the PACE program, the counties combine, or aggregate, their own gas supply needs with the needs of certain groups of welfare recipients. The counties then put their requirements out for a competitive bid. In response, gas marketers submit proposals and the counties award contracts to the lowest qualified bidders. National Fuel continues to provide delivery service and remains responsible for all meter reading, billing and gas safety matters.
National Fuel is pleased to have assisted the local social services agencies in taking advantage of opportunities presented by the emerging competitive natural gas marketplace.
Important Notice: Electronic versions of official documents may differ from the hard copy version available from National Fuel. Information provided on this web site is intended to provide immediate access to the substance of documents; however, appendices may be omitted from the text. Due to software differences, footnotes may be omitted from the text; document words and lines spacing, text position and page numbers may differ from the hard copy version. Although results may vary depending on your software package, it is recommended that downloading and printing be performed. To obtain documents in hard copy, please contact R. M. Friedrich-Alf by telephone at 716-857-7059 or by e-mail.