New Business Services

New Business Services

Gas Transportation FAQ

What is Gas Transportation Service (GTS)?

Under GTS, you will have the option of purchasing your gas from a supplier. Columbia Gas of Maryland, Inc. (Columbia Gas) will continue to deliver the natural gas to your facility, but the purchase function will be handled by the company of your choice. This method of natural gas purchasing is similar to the telecommunications industry where you choose a long distance provider.

Why would I buy my gas from someone other than Columbia Gas?

There might be an opportunity to save money on your gas cost. Suppliers are not subject to state utility commission pricing regulations and can price their gas differently than Columbia Gas. Under federal and state regulations, gas costs are passed through to all sales customers on an average basis, dollar-for-dollar. Columbia Gas is not permitted to "mark-up" gas costs. Columbia Gas derives its income from the delivery of gas through its distribution system to both sales and transportation customers. You are our customer whether you purchase traditional sales service from Columbia Gas, or choose to purchase it from a third-party supplier.

What is included in the cost of your Natural Gas service?

First, there's the cost of the natural gas itself. We refer to this as the "commodity cost." Next comes the "transportation cost". This is the cost of delivering the natural gas from the supplier or producer to the Columbia Gas distribution system. It includes fixed or demand charges to reserve the pipeline capacity needed to transport and store your gas for when you need it.

And lastly, we have the "distribution cost." This is the cost of delivering gas to your facility. It includes not only the actual delivery costs, but also such items as pipeline maintenance, system upgrading, meter reading, and billing.

When you enter the GTS program, you are essentially purchasing the gas or commodity from a supplier of your choice, rather than Columbia Gas. Transportation costs remain the same, as do the costs associated with the distribution service.

How do I sign up for Gas Transportation?

Choose a supplier. You may contact Columbia Gas at 1-800-344-4077 and request a list of qualified suppliers. Your chosen supplier will forward the necessary paperwork to you for your approval. This will include a Gas Transportation Service Agreement between you and Columbia Gas, detailing your service options, volume requirements, service address, account contact information, and the name of your supplier. You may also be required to execute an agreement with your supplier. Your supplier is responsible for returning the Gas Transportation Service Agreement to Columbia Gas for further processing.

My friend works in a big industrial plant and he tells me that they pay less for their natural gas by buying it from an independent supplier rather than from Columbia Gas. Is that true?

We do have customers who buy their natural gas from other suppliers and are able to save money by doing so. However, Columbia Gas continues to deliver the gas regardless of who supplies it.

Would I save money if I purchase gas from a different supplier?

Costs vary from supplier to supplier. This is something you would need to discuss with potential suppliers.

Why can another supplier offer natural gas at a lower price than Columbia Gas?

Columbia Gas is a regulated utility required to price gas on an average basis to all customers. We also must include certain fixed charges relative to reliability of delivery. By purchasing gas from another supplier, you can tailor the level of service reliability and your supplier can target particular gas supplies to satisfy your needs.

Will you continue to deliver the natural gas if I buy it from someone else?

As long as your supplier arranges delivery from the well head to our distribution lines, we will deliver the gas to you.

Sounds like I can't lose, but what about Columbia? How will it affect Columbia Gas if I buy my gas from other suppliers?

It will not affect Columbia Gas. In fact, we want you to have the choice of purchasing your gas from other sources. There is no profit for us in the cost of gas; that cost is simply passed along to the customer dollar-for-dollar. The Company's income is derived from the delivery of gas to our customers, and that is not affected by who our customers choose to purchase their gas from.

Will I get two bills – one from the supplier and one from Columbia Gas?

No. You will receive two bills from Columbia Gas and one from your supplier. Your Columbia Gas sales bill (blue shaded background) will, among other things, reflect your consumption and meter reading information, but should not contain current month charges once you switch to GTS. Your Columbia GTS bill (green shaded background) will reflect your transportation charges or the cost of delivering the gas to your facility. This could also include a commodity charge from Columbia Gas, which occurs when your supplier falls short in delivering enough gas to your facility. The bill from your supplier will reflect the cost of the gas commodity delivered to Columbia Gas on your behalf. Some suppliers offer a bill-consolidation service allowing you to receive only one bill. This is something you may want to investigate further with potential suppliers.

Columbia Gas has always been able to supply the natural gas that I wanted and needed. Is there any chance that another supplier might not be as reliable if we have an exceptionally cold winter or other emergency?

The possibility does exist. However, there are safeguards and if you feel you would like to take advantage of them, you may contract with Columbia Gas to purchase Backup Service or you may install an alternate fuel source. We suggest you talk to your local Columbia Gas Representative as well as any potential suppliers about these options.

If I decide to buy my gas from another supplier and it does not work out, will Columbia Gas take me back?

Columbia Gas may provide you gas under our normal system supply rate schedules provided that:

  • Your return to system supply does not negatively impact the rate non-transportation customers pay.
  • You are willing to absorb any increased costs caused by your return to sales service.
  • You give proper notice per the Gas Transportation Service Agreement and tariff.

Changing suppliers is a big decision. What advice can you offer?

Be sure you fully understand any arrangement that you agree to and understand the terms of the agreement you sign.

If I do decide to choose another supplier, what is my next step?

Once you have chosen a supplier, that supplier will provide you with the necessary paperwork to participate and enroll in GTS. Columbia Gas will process the contract once we receive the agreement and all of the necessary information from you and/or your supplier.