Generally speaking, usage estimates work well for a majority of our customers who have "normal" usage patterns and whose consumption is primarily dependent on the temperatures we experience outdoors throughout the year.
In determining an estimate, we rely on three key factors:
- Actual usage taken from a similar timeframe of the previous year to determine what we refer to as temperature-sensitive consumption,
- Actual historic usage during the previous summer period to determine what we refer to as "base load"*, and
- Actual temperature information experienced during the time the estimate applies.
*Base load is a term we refer to as the amount of natural gas consumed during a period of time that is relatively unaffected by the temperatures experienced outdoors. The natural gas used for hot-water heating and natural gas required for a pilot light are two examples. For most temperature-sensitive consumers of natural gas, the mid-summer period represents the base load period because it is a time when natural gas is not being used for space heating.
This doesn't always work:
This method of estimating works well for the majority of our customers. However, there can be instances where usage patterns of a customer are not "normal" and where this estimating procedure can produce unusual results. Also, this estimating procedure cannot predict a change if a customer alters the manner in which they are using natural gas. For example, there is no way for the system to "know" if someone installed new insulation in their home, added an additional natural gas appliance, removed or stopped using some natural gas-fired equipment, etc.
Monthly readings are better:
To improve data accuracy and collection reliability, and to eliminate many of the safety hazards facing meter readers, we began implementing Automated Meter Reading Technology (AMR) in 2015. Additional information about this program is available on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page, or by calling our toll-free General Inquiry number at 1-866-222-2067.