Following is part two in a series designed to help educate citizens on how their utility bills are figured. The first effort identified the electricity charges of a bill and explained how the charges were figured for that department. Questions, comments, concerns and feedback are encouraged in order to help the general public better understand what issues are prevalent in the local community. As mayor of the City of Brady, I am very concerned with the public’s perception of how our municipality is operated. Public relations are vital to improving the image of the city government. If you have questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to email or call me. I am most readily available at the newspaper office, and email correspondence is a viable and easy form of communication as well. Call me at 597-2959 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘JS Utility Billing 102 Gas Dept. Charges The Distribution Charge is now solely reflective of the city’s cost to distribute natural gas from the city gate to the consumer. This charge is the rate required to pay for personnel, capital improvements and the daily operational needs to maintain the city’s gas distribution lines. The distribution charge rate of 0.30 is established by the city council each fiscal year. A percentage above the actual cost of production is added in to help pay for non-revenue generating departments i.e. fire, EMS, police. The gas and electricity departments have to budget excess revenues to finance the needs of these other departments that do not actually add revenue to the city’s coffers. Therefore, the distribution charge must be somewhat higher than the cost of operation of these individual departments. In figuring the monthly fee in the gas distribution charge, there is a minimum fee of $10 per month to have a gas meter. If you use no gas during a billing period and you have a gas meter, you will automatically see a $10 charge on your bill. If you do use natural gas during the month, the fee seen on the bill is figured as a meter fee of $7.50 for residential and $8 for commercial plus the cost of the gas used added on to that meter fee. In the bill printed with this article, the gas meter read that 13 units had been used (hundreds of cubic feet per unit). The distribution charge is figured by multiplying the number of units by the rate which is 0.30 for a total of $3.90. Add $3.90 to the residential meter fee of $7.50 and you get $11.40. Fuel Charge’The fuel charge (0.886) is the raw cost of the commodity that goes back to the supplier. There is no profit or excess revenue built into this rate. In this bill, 13 units (1,300 cubic feet of consumption) multiplied by 0.886 gives the $11.52 total. The general public and consumer should realize that both the distribution charge and the fuel charge can fluctuate from month to month. Typically, the city council will keep the distribution charge a constant rate from month-to-month making changes to the rate annually if necessary to meet budgeting goals. The fuel charge will vary from month-to-month because the rate is based upon market pricing conditions. The majority of natural gas customers in the City of Brady have meters that are being read in cubic foot measurements. However, some of the larger commercial accounts have meters that still read gas levels in MCF or thousand cubic feet. Although the numbers seem to be quite different when comparing them side by side, they are actually almost identical but the volume used each month is monitored simply using a different decimal point.