The Atlanta Gas Light Co. has delivered exciting news along with their bill for July. They more than doubled their charge for gas, even when I haven't used any. I agree that is exciting; it certainly got my blood pressure up.
Here's how it works. The bill contains two charges -- a base charge (cost to deliver the gas) and a consumption charge (the amount you use).
Representatives of Atlanta Gas stated that the base charge was based on how much gas you used on the coldest day of 1997 and was equivalent to the old purchased gas charge (PGC) and will be approximately the same year round. The consumption charge is what you pay a different company for the gas you use.
I have a theory about how the base charge was developed. The bean counter at Atlanta Gas Light Co.is called into the executive office and informed that the Public Service Commission has deregulated the gas industry and (asked) how (the company) can maximize (its) profits. His answer: Easy -- use a figure that was the highest bill from last year and tack it onto every bill from now on. Regardless of a customer's bill we get a maximum -- but say approximately, so that if we want to raise it again, we can. Maybe we can also charge the supplier for delivery too. I'll check that out. ...
David K. Simpson, Martinez