Natural Gas Section
Natural Gas matters are handled primarily by engineers in the Natural Gas Section, which represents the public in regulated natural gas matters brought before the Utilities Commission. These matters encompass the following areas: rates and tariffs; energy efficiency program approval and performance; alternative natural gas; natural gas procurement; natural gas resellers; integrity management; quality of service; and mergers and acquisitions.
The regulated natural gas utilities in North Carolina are: Piedmont Natural Gas, Dominion Energy North Carolina (PSNC), Frontier Natural Gas, and Toccoa Natural Gas.
Municipal Natural Gas Providers are not regulated by the Commission. There are eight such municipal providers in North Carolina: Bessemer City, Greenville, Kings Mountain, Lexington, Monroe, Rocky Mount, Shelby, and Wilson.
In addition, the Commission does not regulate propane companies. For issues with your propane company, contact the NC Propane Gas Association at 919-733-8445. You may also contact the North Carolina Attorney General at 877-566-7226.
The Facilities Charge is a monthly fee that is not just for expenses related to the meter located at your house, but also includes other costs that do not vary with the amount of gas used. These costs include utility plant investment, operation and maintenance costs, administration and general costs, depreciation, administrative costs such as billing, and property taxes.
When rates are developed for all classes of customers (residential, commercial, and industrial), consideration is also given to those costs mentioned above that do not vary with consumption. Since these costs are incurred regardless of customer consumption, they are collected as a set fee even though a customer may have not used any gas in a particular month. These costs could be incorporated as a part of the per unit energy charge, but that would have a definite effect of increasing the energy charge. This would mean that when customers used natural gas their bill would be substantially higher in order to collect these approved costs. All regulated gas and electric utilities customers in North Carolina pay a monthly Facilities Charge and have done so for well over 20 years.
The Public Staff audits the books and records of the Company in an effort to present to the Commission an accurate presentation of these costs in the form of testimony and exhibits in a general rate proceeding. When the Commission determines that these costs are just and reasonable, the Company is authorized to collect them. The Public Staff reviews the facilities charges and determines their appropriateness by using a fully allocated cost-of-service study to aid in the approximate cost responsibility by class and also within certain classes.
The Commission and Public Staff strive to assign cost responsibility to the appropriate class of customers, including within class designations where practical and possible. In order for a company to remain a viable entity, it must first of all be in a position to cover its fixed costs, as well as having the ability to earn a reasonable return.
Rates for the natural gas utilities generally change as a result of rate cases or changes in the wholesale cost of natural gas. See a typical bill for year-round residential customers or check the current rates charged by the natural gas utilities, below.
Piedmont Natural Gas
Frontier Natural Gas
Reporting a Natural Gas Leak
If you smell natural gas, please call your natural gas company or Emergency (911):