MPSC Gas Customer Choice Program: SEMCO Energy Gas Company
On August 20, 2002 in Case Number U-13305, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved a permanent gas customer choice program for SEMCO Energy Gas Company's (SEMCO) natural gas customers, effective October 1, 2002.
The gas customer choice program gives all customers the option to obtain natural gas from an alternative gas supplier of their choice. This means that you, as a residential or business customer have the ability to choose a new gas supplier. SEMCO will still continue to provide gas distribution service by delivering your gas to your home or business.
If you do not wish to switch to a new supplier, your gas service will continue to be provided by SEMCO and the price of your gas supply will be regulated by the MPSC. If you wish to switch to a new supplier, the price you pay for your gas supply will be the price the supplier offers and is not regulated by the MPSC.
If you choose to participate in the gas customer choice program you may return to the utility at any time. If you switch back to SEMCO after participating in the gas customer choice program, you are required to remain a SEMCO sales customer for 12 months before you can choose a new supplier.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is eligible to participate in the program?
All residential and business customers are eligible except those whose account is in arrears or who are already transportation customers. Transportation customers must comply with any minimum requirements of those tariffs. Participation in the program is strictly voluntary.
- If I am on Budget Billing, can I participate?
Yes. Nothing will change with regards to your budget plan.
- What if I do not wish to switch to a new supplier?
That is your choice. If you choose to remain a sales customer of SEMCO, you will continue to pay a regulated GCR rate for your gas supply. See current rates.
- How do I sign up with a new supplier?
You can sign up via telephone, online or in person depending on what sign up options the suppliers are offering. You will need to give the supplier your name, address and SEMCO account number. This number is on your bill. Your new supplier will then send the information to SEMCO. To avoid unauthorized switching, do not disclose specific account information if you do not want to be switched to a new supplier.
- Is there a sign up period?
No. You may enroll at any time.
- How can I find out which suppliers are participating in the program?
See Supplier/Marketer Contacts page for a list of suppliers that are licensed with the MPSC.
- How long will it take to switch to a new supplier?
Approximately 1-2 billing periods.
- Can I switch from one supplier to another?
Yes, you can switch to another supplier at any time. However, be sure to ask your current supplier if there is a fee for early termination. When you enroll with a new supplier you will automatically be canceled with your old supplier and may be responsible for an early termination fee at that time. You can switch back to SEMCO sales service at any time, but you must remain with SEMCO for the following 12 months. SEMCO may charge a $10 switching fee if you change suppliers more than once in a 12 month period.
- How do I cancel my contract?
You must contact the supplier to cancel your contract but please be aware of any early termination fees that may apply. The MPSC does not regulate the supplier and therefore cannot cancel or change contracts.
- Do I have to pay a fee if I switch suppliers?
There is no fee for your original enrollment and you are also allowed to switch once each year without a fee. There is a $10 utility fee for each additional switch.
- Does the MPSC regulate the rates of the suppliers participating in the program?
No, the rates offered by suppliers are not regulated or approved by the MPSC. It is up to you to determine if a supplier meets your needs. Be sure you understand the terms of the contract and the price you will pay. If you have questions or problems concerning your gas supply, you must contact the supplier.
- Who will deliver the gas to my home?
SEMCO will continue to deliver gas to your home. You will not need a new service line or meter if you choose a new supplier. Your delivery (distribution) cost and monthly customer charge will be the same as a SEMCO sales customer. SEMCO also charges a Balancing Charge and a Capacity Demand Charge to all customers. Customers of alternative suppliers will see these as separate charges on their bills. Customers who do not switch will continue to have the charges included in the GCR factor on their bills. The charges cover the costs associated with gas storage, moving gas out of storage, and transportation into the distribution system.
- If I choose an alternative supplier to purchase gas on my behalf, do I pay my utility any charges?
Yes, you would pay the utility delivery charges that you have always paid. These charges consist of the Monthly Customer Charge and the Distribution Charge. The amount you agree to pay your supplier for the gas they purchased for you will be billed and collected by SEMCO and SEMCO will pay your supplier.
- Will I continue to pay sales tax on my entire bill if I switch suppliers?
Yes. If you are a residential customer, your bill will include a 4% sales tax rate on the total bill. If you are a business customer, the rate is 6%.
- Who do I call if I smell gas?
If you smell gas, have a service emergency or have a billing dispute you will still call SEMCO for help.
- Who do I call if I have a billing dispute?
SEMCO will continue to read your meter and send you a bill for their delivery service and the gas you purchased from your supplier. Call your supplier if you have any questions concerning your gas charges. If you have questions concerning your customer charge or distribution charges, you will still call SEMCO Energy Gas.
- What can I do if I can't get my problem resolved through SEMCO or the supplier?
If you have not received a satisfactory response from your gas utility or your new supplier, inquire or complain to the staff of the MPSC (at www.Michigan.gov/mpsc under Consumer Information).