I want to cancel my natural gas service this summer. Is that possible?
May 28, 2014 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I would like to cancel my natural gas service this summer. Last year, I didn't use any natural gas during June-August. I have a gas furnace and also a gas stove/fireplace. I do not have a hot water heater since that's supplied by the building. I don't cook or use the fireplace.

Complication: I live in Chicago and the service provider, People's Gas, is known for terrible customer service and making horrendous billing mistakes.

I'd really like to get rid of the service this summer since the customer fee is nearly $30 and it makes me angry that I am required to pay the customer fee even though I don't use the service in the summer.

Has anyone else tried this? If so, how did it work for you? The options on the People's Gas website for cancelling service seem to all relate to people who are moving and not those who just don't need/want the service anymore.

Note: I own my condo, so I don't have to deal with a landlord.
posted by parakeetdog to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
IIRC, the last time someone I knew tried to do this PG gave him a really hard time and basically said that when he came back in the fall wanting service again they'd hit him up for a security deposit due to "risk".

So... good luck?
posted by Oktober at 9:58 AM on May 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

You can do this, but it may cost you $100 to put the gas back on in the fall. So ask how much it will be to re-start service when you're ready to do so, because it may not be worth it.

You're not paying for not having gas though. You're also paying for the maintenance of the delivery system. Sure, you may not have gas coming into your apartment for the summer, but the lines are being maintained, not just to your place, but throughout the network.

Another option would be to suspend service. I know we used to do it at the phone company, but it might be available for the gas company.

Check out their budget billing, where they normalize your billing throughout 12 months, so that you pay one similar amount month after month. That may take the sting out of paying the minimum every month.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:02 AM on May 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

Another option would be to suspend service.

Agreed. I bet there are snowbirds in Chicago who only have service during the warmer months (as they spend the cold months in a warm state); basically tell them you'll be away for the months of June - August and would like your service 'seasonally suspended'.
posted by anastasiav at 10:07 AM on May 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

anastasiav has it - ask for vacation rate instead of canceling.
posted by Cranberry at 10:18 AM on May 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

Are you turning off all the appliances at the gas line, i.e. there no pilot burning on that furnace? You can have the gas company come and turn off the appliances for you. I worked in the energy business and that's a common request. It's non-urgent work so it may take them some time to get around to it and you'll likely need to be home. I'm sorry but you probably need to call. Gas companies usually have minimally featured websites.

BTW, RB has it - you're paying for the infrastructure of safe gas lines. That can be hidden and bundled into the gas rates or it can be monthly base charge. Either way, customers pay for that.
posted by 26.2 at 12:42 PM on May 28, 2014

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