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Natural Gas Glossary

Natural Gas: Gas made of methane and other hydrocarbons that occurs naturally underground and is used for fuel. You may use natural gas for heating and cooling or cooking, among other things. Many power plants also use natural gas to generate electricity.

Alternative Fuels: Fuels that come from sources other than petroleum. Some examples of alternative fuels are Ethanol, Biodiesel, and Natural Gas.

Biogas: Mixture of gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter when there is no oxygen. Manure, sewage, and plant material can be used to create biogas. In some places, biogas is being used to power cars.

Gas Mains: Major pipelines used to transport gas from one point to another. Think of gas mains as the Interstate 70’s and 71’s of natural gas.

Natural Gas Supplier:  Company that buys natural gas on the wholesale market and delivers the gas to a local Utility.  The Utility then distributes the gas to its customers.  Quake Energy is a natural gas supplier that buys gas and delivers it to Dominion East Ohio and Columbia Gas of Ohio.  These Utilities then distribute the gas to their customers’ homes and businesses.

Variable Rate:  Rate that varies slightly from month to month based on wholesale market conditions. There are typically no long-term contracts associated with a variable rate, so it often offers customers the most flexibility.

Fixed Rate:  Rate that remains steady for a set period of time.  (Common term lengths are six months to a year.)  Fixed rates provide some insulation against high natural gas prices; however, they also don’t reflect any dips in the market that could favorably benefit customers.

Energy Deregulation:  Policy enacted in Ohio designed to lower consumer prices by increasing competition.  In short, Ohio natural gas suppliers now compete for your business, and they do this through various pricing and incentive plans.

Methane: A colorless and odorless flammable gas that is the main constituent of natural gas. It is composed of four atoms of hydrogen and one atom of carbon, hence the term “hydrocarbon”. Burning methane produces less carbon dioxide compared to other hydrocarbon fuels.

Rate: The charge per unit of natural gas. See “Variable Rate” and “Fixed Rate” above.

Gas Meter: An instrument for measuring and recording the volume of gas that has passed through it. The Utility uses your gas meter to determine how much gas you used. Remember to keep the area around your gas meter clear so that the Utility can read the meter each month.

Natural Gas Measurements:

You may have noticed various measurements on your natural gas bill and wondered what they mean. There are several different ways to measure gas, but many natural gas companies use the unit CCF or therm.

Ccf: The most common unit used to measure natural gas usage. This measurement denotes a unit of volume equal to one hundred cubic feet.

Mcf: A unit of volume equivalent to 1,000 cubic feet.

Therm: Equal to one hundred cubic feet or 1 Ccf.

mmbtu: Equal to 1 Mcf or 1,000 cubic feet.

*For higher cubic feet measurements, a Btu (British Thermal Units) notation is used.

How much natural gas do I use?

1,000 cubic feet of natural gas is roughly enough to sustain the natural gas needs of an average home (cooking,  average use of small appliances, space-heating, water-heating, etc.) for around 4 days.  This amount varies based on factors like weather, insulation, and energy-saving measures.