Natural Gas

Understanding Your Energy Bill

If you woke up this morning to a warm house or a hot shower, you might have ATCO to thank. Since 1912, we have delivered natural gas to homes and businesses throughout Alberta—fuelling hot water heaters, furnaces, appliances, and more!

With more than 1.1 million customers in nearly 300 communities, we’re the province’s largest natural gas distribution company.

In Alberta, distribution companies (like ATCO) and retailers work together to bring you natural gas. We, your natural gas distribution company, deliver natural gas to you. Your retailer sells you your natural gas, provides account services and bills you. You're able to choose which energy retailer you want to buy natural gas from. You can get more information about retailers through the Utility Consumer Advocate

Our delivery rates are among the lowest in Canada and cover the costs of delivering the natural gas including:
  • Providing 24-hour natural gas emergency response
  • Measuring natural gas through monthly meter reading
  • Submitting monthly meter readings to Retailers so they can bill customers
  • Operating a call centre and other services to answer questions from customers and Retailers
  • Building new infrastructure
  • Relocating and upgrading natural gas pipelines, gate stations and other gas distribution facilities to keep pace with Alberta's growth

Understanding Your Natural Gas Bill

It's our job to make sure your natural gas gets to you when you need it. That's a serious responsibility - especially with a province with such diverse weather conditions.

At ATCO Gas, we are responsible for the Delivery Charges on your bill, along with meter reading. Our delivery charges are regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and are among the lowest delivery rates in Canada.

We know reading your energy bill can be confusing and we’re here to help you understand what the natural gas delivery charges mean on your bill. Take a few minutes to watch our video to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the difference between ATCO Gas and a retailer?

    We, ATCO Gas, are a distribution company which means we deliver you natural gas and read your meter. We send your retailer this information and they use this information to send you an energy bill which includes the charge for your natural gas usage.

  • What are Distribution Charges and why do I pay them?

    On your energy bill, you’ll see Distribution Charges. This charge covers the costs to build, operate and maintain the natural gas distribution system that delivers natural gas to your home and business. 

  • What do the different charges on my bill mean?

    The following items make up the delivery charges on your bill and may be itemized or rolled together depending on how your retailer chooses to display the information: 

    • The fixed delivery charge covers the cost of building, operating, and maintaining our distribution system. It’s a fixed, daily rate.
    • The variable charge also helps cover the cost of maintaining the system. It is calculated based on the amount of natural gas you use.
    • Your bill might include a rate rider, an adjustment approved by the AUC, to recover costs or refund money for something that is temporary or caused by factors outside of our control. 
    • In some communities you may see a municipal franchise fee. We collect this money and pay it to your municipality so we can install, operate and maintain our gas distribution system.
    • The federal carbon levy is a fee we collect on behalf of the federal government. It’s designed to encourage Albertans to be more energy efficient in their homes, businesses and communities. 
  • Why is my energy bill so high?

    There are many factors that affect your bill. While we as your distribution company can’t speak to the retailer charges, here are a few factors that affect your natural gas distribution charges:

    • Extreme temperatures – when temperatures drop for an extended period of time, this increases demand and consumption,
    • Your billing cycle timing – If the majority of the billing cycle falls during the peak of extreme temperatures, you might have seen your highest levels of consumption on one bill,
    • Federal carbon tax -  the amount increased per GJ has increased which impacts what you pay,
    • Cost of energy – the price of natural gas has doubled from last year.
  • I didn't use any gas, why am I still paying fees?

    Even if your gas usage is minimal, you still pay for costs that cover installing, operating, and maintaining the infrastructure to deliver you natural gas when you need it. It's like having cable TV services. You pay a fee every month so you can watch TV whenever you want. 

  • Can you tell me more about the Federal Fuel Charge/Carbon Tax that appears on my bill?

    The fuel charge is a federally implanted program intended to lower carbon emissions. As of April 1, 2024 the fuel charge increased from $3.33/GJ to $4.095 GJ.

    Alberta’s natural gas distributors, including ATCO, will calculate and charge the carbon tax based on customers’ natural gas usage on behalf of the federal government. Learn more about the carbon tax and the Canadian Government’s comprehensive climate action plan here.