I currently live in Columbus, GA, and I rented a 3-bed/1-ba house (approximately 1100-1200 sq ft) with central heat & air (though neither the heat nor the air make it to the two last bedrooms at the end of the hall). My stove is electric, and my water heater is a gas water heater and is nothing special as far as energy/gas conservation. So I would list my rental home as a "typical" setting.
I have lived there since August of 2012, and it is now April 2013. Here are the pros and cons:
- They bill you only for what you use (there is an addendum to this in the cons).
- They have natural gas.
- Set up was easy, but it took a little while.
- They bill you for what you use, but the RATE at which they bill you depends on the average of your STATE. So it could be freezing in Atlanta and sunny in Columbus (2 hours away), and you're paying the rate for Atlanta's high usage. See below.
- From an actual email from Atmos: "As we advised in our reply when you first started service online, the service charge of $20 is a one time non-refundable charge that is billed on your first bill (This is true, and I agreed to this charge). Also, you will be billed a base rate each month regardless of your gas consumption (Base rate even if I don't use any gas?? I didn't agree with this.). Your gas charges consist of your base rate, which is a fixed amount each month and is not affected by the amount of gas you use. This charge covers the cost of operating and maintaining our natural gas facilities and customer account records. Your bill also includes a Cast Iron Replacement Charge, which is a Monthly customer charge approved by the Georgia PSC on 10-01-2008 to cover a portion of the cost of pipe replacement (I am paying for a pipe replacement program that happened years ago. Hasn't this already been paid for by now?? I think this is an unfair charge, yet there it is). The bill also includes your city and state taxes, and a franchise fee for the city of Columbus, a fee that is paid to the city for the use of alleys, streets and rights-of-ways for gas lines to provide your service. It is based on the dollar amount of each customer’s bill and is remitted to the appropriate town, city, or municipal governmental entity. Atmos does not make a profit from this fee and it is a pass-through cost (I understand taxes and fees even though I don't agree with them, but the other stuff, NO!).
- The meters are not kept clean so it makes it hard to read.
- The meters are not digital.
- The people who read the meters will make mistakes, and then you're responsible for the bill. I had my January bill spiked WAYYY up ($80 more than the $45 I was usually paying) and they said that it was such a high bill because there was a mis-read on my meter the month before.
- They do not reply to you in a timely manner, so much that it's now April 2013 and I am still waiting for a resolve on a matter from December 2012. As of this month, Atmos has been taken over by Liberty Utility, who ALSO has not responded to my case/issue. If I'm not mistaken, it's still the same employees/company, just a different name, so I don't see why they haven't already resolved this issue.
- Now that the company is Liberty Utility, my Atmos online account has been deleted. I would like to reference my prior bills and whatnot, which I now cannot do because they immediately deleted my user account. I've had plenty of other user accounts with other companies that will retain the account for at least a month or two.