About two years ago, DTE Energy proposed running a Natural Gas line on our road. We needed a minimum number of people to subscribe for them to do it. Some years ago, there was a similar offer, and it failed to meet the minimum number of subscribers. I had read that Natural Gas was about half the cost of Propane, and took it upon myself to try to promote Natural Gas to the other residents on our road. But some of the neighbors balked at installation costs, and the numerous additional charges [similar to the ones on a phone bill] that they thought would actually make Natural Gas more expensive than Propane.
This time, we just barely reached the minimum number of subscribers. DTE›s hook up charge is determined by the number of feet of line they have to run. For our road, it was $300 down, plus $1,925 that could be put on payments over 5 years. It also cost us a few hundred to convert the house and appliances to Natural Gas: kitchen stove, water heater, furnace, & clothes dryer. Our total cost of conversion and hook-up was right at $2,600.
We had a 1,000 gallon propane tank from B&W Co-op, and our last fill cost $1,915.82. That lasted one year, through the 2012-2013 winter, which was the mildest winter in decades. It was the only time since living here that the 1,000 gallon tank made if through a whole year for us. Our first DTE bills were higher than normal for about 6 months, until we got the hook-up charge paid off. We have now gone one full year with normal monthly Natural Gas bills from DTE–and yes, they include all those charges.
We had Natural Gas before moving here, so we anticipated lower gas bills. We even set our programmable thermostat higher to be more comfortable in the house. The cost of Natural Gas from DTE for one year was $753.99. Yep, a harder winter, higher thermostat setting, all those little add-on charges, and it came to less than 40% of our previous Propane cost! [$753.99/$1,915.82 = 39.36%]
Our annual savings is $1,161.83 [1,915.82 – 753.99 = 1,161.83]. At that rate, the cost of conversion will be paid for in lower gas bills in less than 27 months, which is only a matter of months away for us now. Not only that, but there is no more hassle about pre-purchase contracts, switching dealers to get a better price, delivery dates and times, or of forgetting to order gas and running the tank out. And we don›t need to have a Propane tank taking up space in the yard.
Propane Vs. Natural Gas? We are happy DTE Natural Gas customers!
Sam & Judy Wienke,