Reliant Energy Minnegasco announces ‘No Surprise Bill’ pilot program

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 1, 2001 — Reliant Energy Minnegasco (Minnegasco) announced today a pilot for a new natural gas bill payment option program for its residential and small business customers called the “No Surprise BillSM.”

This program gives customers the option to choose a fixed monthly payment that will not change for 12 months, even if gas prices and weather do. It is designed for customers who desire certainty and predictability in their natural gas bill.

Minnegasco received authority to implement the No Surprise Bill program from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which unanimously approved it on September 13, 2001. Enrollment begins today and is available to the first 30,000 eligible customers who sign up by November 15. The program begins with December bills.

Under this voluntary service option, customers agree to pay a fixed, guaranteed bill for every month of the 12-month program. “The No Surprise Bill program provides bill certainty and predictability for customers who want to eliminate the effects of changing weather and fluctuating natural gas prices,” said Phil Hammond, vice president of gas supply and regulatory services. “It gives customers a fixed monthly payment that will remain the same for the 12-month term of the program.”

Under the No Surprise Billsm program, customers enter into a guaranteed fixed monthly payment with no mid-year adjustments or year-end balances to carry forward, which is different from Minnegasco’s Budget plan. During enrollment, eligible customers will receive a monthly quote amount that applies to their natural gas use for 12 months, beginning with their December 2001 bill. This amount is customized for each customer based on their history of gas use patterns and historical normal temperatures in their area. It also includes taxes, a 6 percent program fee and a carrying charge. Depending on weather conditions and natural gas prices, customers may end up paying more or less for the program than under traditional billing options. “Regardless, customers who choose to enroll in this program are assured of certainty and predictability — factors important to those customers who desire and need stable monthly energy costs,” added Hammond.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Reliant Energy Minnegasco is Minnesota’s largest natural gas distribution company, serving more than 690,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in over 240 communities.

For more information, visit Minnegasco online at

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