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Q1. What is the Regulated Provider Program?
A. The Regulated Provider Program was established as a provision of the Natural Gas Consumers' Relief Act to provide natural gas service to low income residential consumers and consumers who are unable to obtain or maintain service from a gas marketer.
Q2. What is the difference between the Regulated Provider and a gas marketer?
A. The Regulated Provider's price of natural gas is subject to regulation by the Georgia Public Service Commission and a gas marketer's prices are not.
Q3. Who is the current Regulated Provider?
A. The Commission renewed SCANA Energy Regulated Division?s contract to serve as the regulated provider for a two-year term through August 30, 2009. The Commission originally selected SCANA as the regulated provider in 2002.
Q4. Isn't SCANA Energy a gas marketer? How can Scana serve as the Regulated Provider?
A. Yes. The Regulated Provider bid process was open to all certificated marketers in Georgia. Although SCANA Energy is a certificated gas marketer, it will serve customers as the Regulated Provider separately from its deregulated business.
Q5. Can anyone get service with the Regulated Provider?
A. No. The legislation that created the Regulated Provider identifies who is eligible for the program.
(a) By July 1, 2002, the Commission shall select a Regulated Provider of natural gas to serve:
1. Group 1, low income residential consumers; and
2. Group 2, firm natural gas consumers:
A) Who have been unable to obtain or maintain natural gas commodity service; or
B) Whose utility payment history was cited by the Regulated Provider as reason for transfer from Group 1 to Group 2.
Q6. How do I determine if I am eligible for service from the Regulated Provider?
A. If you intend to seek service from the Regulated Provider as a low-income consumer (Group 1), you will need to qualify through the Department of Human Resources (DHR) under the LIHEAP program. LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by DHR to help low income households meet their heating and cooling needs. To qualify under LIHEAP, a consumer must meet the following requirements:
1. Income at or below 150% of the poverty level for Georgia:
|Household Size||Annual Income|
|ten or more persons||Add $7,480 for each additional household member.|
2. Responsibility for paying the cost of energy for the primary home heating source.
3. Are U.S. citizens or legally admitted aliens.
Through its Community Action Agencies, the Department of Human Resources began qualifying customers for the Regulated Provider Program on September 16, 2002. Qualifications for the Regulated Provider Program are performed year round. The only requirement to qualify for the program as a high-risk (Group 2) consumer is the inability to obtain or maintain gas service from another marketer. The Regulated Provider can also transfer customers from Group 1 to Group 2 based on their payment history.
Q7. Will my rate be lower with the Regulated Provider than with another marketer?
A. The rate you are charged will be determined by the plan you select. Under SCANA Energy Regulated Provider's pricing plan, the rates for low-income households will be approximately 10 to 14 cents per therm lower than the current variable rates. Additionally, low-income senior citizens will receive a two cents per therm discount. However, there is no guarantee that the Regulated Provider's prices will always be less than the deregulated market. The rate for Group 2 customers may be higher than the current market rates to offset the added costs and risks associated with serving these customers.
Q8. What type of pricing plans will the Regulated Provider offer?
A. SCANA Energy will offer two pricing plans as the Regulated Provider: A variable rate plan is available to all Regulated Provider customers. This price per therm is subject to change based on market conditions. A fixed rate plan will be offered to low-income residential customers only. The effective price per therm at the time you select the plan will determine the per therm price you will be charged per month. Gas service will be billed monthly at a fixed price per therm and consumers choosing this plan will be required to stay on the plan for a specified period of time, usually 12 months.
Q9. What is the monthly customer service charge?
A. The customer service charge is $3.95 for Group 1 senior residential customers, $4.95 for Group 1 non-senior customers, and $11.95 for Group 2 customers.
Q10. Will I have to pay a deposit with the Regulated Provider?
A. The Regulated Provider has sole discretion to determine if a deposit will be required. Current law prohibits gas marketers and the Regulated Provider from charging a deposit that exceeds $150.00. The deposit for Group 1 customers under SCANA Energy's terms of service will not exceed $100. The deposit for Group 2 customers will not exceed $150.
Q11. How do I sign up with the Regulated Provider?
A. The first step in signing up for the Regulated Provider as a Group 1 customer is to contact SCANA Energy at 1.866.245.7742. If you have received LIHEAP funds within the past year, you may be able to apply for service from the Regulated Provider right away. If you have not previously received LIHEAP funds, but may still qualify as a low-income consumer, SCANA Energy will refer you to the Community Action Agency that services your area. The Community Action agency will verify your eligibility and forward your information to SCANA Energy. Depending on the date that SCANA Energy receives your proof of eligibility, you may be switched to the Regulated Provider as early as the first of the following month. Group 2 customers who wish to sign up for service with the Regulated Provider only need to call 1.866.245.7742. If your natural gas service is presently disconnected or is in danger of being disconnected, you may qualify for the program.
Q12. Can I switch to the Regulated Provider if I still owe money to my current marketer?
A. If you qualify for Group 1, you may switch to the Regulated Provider regardless of your collection status with your current marketer. You are entitled to switch without loss of service as well. If you do not qualify for Group 1, but have been disconnected from the system, you may receive service from the Regulated Provider under Group 2. However, if you are currently with a marketer and owe an outstanding balance, you may not be able to switch to the Regulated Provider under Group 2 without losing service. If the marketer has billed you in a timely manner and has properly notified you that a disconnection is pending, it is possible that you may lose service prior to switching to the Regulated Provider.