I ended up with a $20 credit at the end of my budget-billing year for natural gas. And there are articles out there like this, which say natural gas prices are trending downward.www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2006-09-12-gas-pric...
Yet, our natural gas company wants to increase our budget billing by $53 a month!
I'm definitely going to call and try to bring that figure down. But there's a second issue.
They have a 3rd party supplier who will give you a locked in price through October 2007. The price is about 7% higher than what's on our latest bill. If the prices actually go down, I will have been a fool for locking in.
OTOH, I can look back and see that on our worst (highest use) month ever, their higher lock-in price would only cost us $24 more than it would be at the current rate. Which makes it really obvious how ridiculous it is having to pay $53 more a month all year round.
So, I could just dispute the budget billing increase. I could lock in the higher rate, and feel more confident about disputing the budget billing increase. I could take my chances that prices will actually be lower this winter, and pay as I go instead of using the even-payment thing. That way I wouldn't be lending them money interest-free. OTOH, if prices go up and it's a cold winter, we could be hit with some really high bills.