Like many residential customers, the Dean family uses natural gas for heat and hot water, but are they really saving using natural gas for their heating needs? Enbridge Energy Solutions Analyst Morgan MacGregor took a deep dive into their energy usage – what she found may surprise you!
To understand the savings the Deans enjoy heating their home with natural gas, you have to understand the Total Cost of natural gas, and the Total Cost of electricity.
Morgan explained that within the Total Cost of natural gas, there is a Customer Charge, a Delivery Charge and a Commodity Charge.
Customer Charge is determined by which rate class you are placed in. Every residential natural gas customer in New Brunswick are placed in the Small General Service (SGS) rate class, and pays an $18 Customer Charge on their bill. This charge covers costs such as meter readings, pipeline maintenance, customer support services, and 24-hour emergency services.
All residential customers also pay a Delivery Charge of $9.728 per GJ or gigajoule of natural gas they use in a billing cycle. This is the cost of using the Enbridge pipeline to deliver natural gas to a home.
Commodity Charge is the cost of the natural gas supply you consume. This charge is set monthly and was $10.48 a GJ on average in 2018.
Within the Total Cost of electricity, Morgan said there is a Service Charge and an Energy Charge.
Service Charge is determined by which of two categories electricity customers fall into, Urban at $21.85 per month, or Rural/Seasonal at $23.96 per month – as residents of Fredericton North, the Deans fall into the Urban category and pay $21.85 in service charges per month.
All electricity customers pay an Energy Charge of $0.1091 per kWh or Kilowatt hour. Because natural gas is measured in GJs, we converted the electricity Energy Charge to GJs – electricity costs approximately $30.30 per GJ.
Morgan compared that with using other fuel types:
The natural gas the Deans are heating their home with costs $18 a month, plus approximately $20.218 per GJ of natural gas used.
The electricity the Deans use to power everything else in their home costs $21.85 per month plus approximately $30.30 per GJ of electricity used. That cost is the home’s Plug Load.
The Deans gave Morgan their last three natural gas and electricity bills. Let’s take a look at their consumption history, and see where the savings magic happened:
By choosing natural gas for heat and hot water, the Deans have saved $2,924 against electric heat, $2,110 against oil heat, and a whopping $3,565 against propane!
It’s great that the Deans are already saving thousands of dollars just by using efficient natural gas for their heating and hot water, but we at Enbridge never stop trying to do better.
One of the first things we did when the Deans invited us into their home was take note of where we could expand on their existing gas use. A new natural gas barbeque and a patio flame were obvious choices – they’re easy to add! But we found a great opportunity hiding in their garage.
Trevor insists on a garage heater. He doesn’t want Janet and the kids crawling into a frosty vehicle, teeth chattering, and there’s the added bonus of a little extra heat rising into the master bedroom above. But Janet doesn’t love the added expense of the electric model they started using last year – and the expense is not insignificant: Morgan estimates the electric garage heater added another $75 to $100 a year to their electricity bill. We told the Deans we could help with that, and sent our friends at Degree Technologies over to perform the installation!
Stay tuned for our next energy analysis – we’ll see if the garage heater makes a difference this heating season!
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