What is a good price for natural gas?

I never had gas utilities before, but I moved to a new city that has a competitive market. There is the standard gas company, and then there are other companies that often have different rates. I recently got a letter from one of the other companies that said I can lock in a rate of .699 per Ccf until August 2011 (so for 1 year).. The company I use now charges .57 per Ccf currently; however it was implied that the cost goes up over the winter, so I have no idea how the locked in rate would compare to the variable rate. Any idea? I live in western PA if it matters, and I would probably use a large amount of heat in January, February, and part of March.
I won’t pay utility companies in advance either, on principle. I’ve only had electric or oil heat in the past and haven’t had a problem paying.. I just am looking for the most economical solution. People have told me that locking in the rate is the best idea, but I’m not so sure..

One Response to “What is a good price for natural gas?”

  1. Lauren Says:

    In the northeast the Gas co has a budget plan. We are not offered Lock In Rates yet. But let me explain how they offer a similar type of billing. Which may just be similar to what you are being told. Basically the history of use and account are reviewed. The Gas co them divides the previous bill amount into the 12 months. All year long you pay the same amount. As opposed to paying each month as billed by use. The difference of rates Summer Rates and Winter Rates. The winter rates begin on or about Sept. and continue to April. The summer rates begin.thereafter. How well you do with the budgeting your finances is an important factor in your choice.Do you feel comfortable managing your own money and payments? Do you feel better with one set payment each month? It is inevitable that your colder months will cost more most typically in Jan Feb and start the downward trend in March.
    I do not have a Budget Plan, as I am opposed to paying in advance to the utilities company for what I have not yet used.
    I choose to pay monthly. I anticipate the higher costs for winter and make the necessary financial arrangements for increases over the cold months. Lets say your budget plan is for $75 per month and you use $25 per month, during the summer. The extra $50 that you are saving and not paying to the utilities company could stay in your savings acct til later and be earning you interest all the while. If you do not yet have a savings account, this is a good time to set one up and learn even more about finances. Good Luck !