What is a Budget Payment Plan?
The Budget Payment Plan is a free service designed to help reduce the impact of winter heating bills by spreading your heating costs more evenly throughout the year, see an example. And, to make paying your gas bill truly hassle-free, you can opt to pay your budget amount by automatic debit. A budget payment plan will help you:
- Reduce the impact of unstable natural gas prices
- Spread your winter heating costs throughout a full year
- Know how much you can expect to pay each month
- Have more money available during the holidays
How it Works
Columbia Gas of Massachusetts calculates your budget payment amount by reviewing the gas usage history at your address, 30-year normal weather, and the present and estimated cost of natural gas. Sometimes, weather conditions and swings in the price of natural gas can have an unexpected impact on your gas usage and your actual bill amount. We'll review your budget account in November and April, and will adjust your payment, if necessary, to keep your actual balance as current as possible.
Enrolling in the Budget Plan is easy. The budget year begins in May and runs through April. Simply pay the budget payment amount indicated on your May, June, July, August or September bill and you'll be enrolled in the program automatically.
The budget amount will be different each of those months, as there are fewer months remaining in the budget to spread your budget costs so its a good idea to enroll as early as possible.
If your account is current, you can also enroll online or by phone during those months by calling Columbia Gas DirectLink at 1-800-688-6160. Select Option 1 from the main menu and follow the appropriate prompts for information on the Budget plan.
- Easier budgeting – It's hard to budget household expenses when your gas bill goes up and down with seasonal gas use. Your bill will remain the same each month if you choose the budget payment plan.
- Convenience plus – The budget payment plan is a free customer service that's a natural for spreading the cost of winter heating bills evenly over the year.
- Plan ahead – We all know that bigger bills are sure to come when cold weather hits, so summer is the time to look ahead and get prepared. The amount of your monthly budget for the coming year is shown on your May, June, July, August and September bills. Get a head start on winter bills by paying the budget amount when you pay your bill during one of those months.
- Accurate billing – We review your account as the year progresses so we can adjust your budget amount, if necessary, to keep your account as current as possible.
Three Easy Ways to Enroll
- Bill payment – Your budget amount will appear on your May, June, July, August and September bills. If your account is past-due, the arrearage will be included in the first month's payment amount. Simply pay that amount for your natural gas service, plus any charges for optional services or contribution to the Dollar Energy fund, and you'll be enrolled automatically.
- Online - You can also enroll online anytime. Just log in to your account to find out what your budget amount will be and follow the easy steps to enroll.
- By phone – You also can enroll during May, June, July, August or September by calling our customer service center at 1-800-688-6160.