Equal Pay FAQ

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about our Equal Pay Plan.


How does it work?

It’s simple. We estimate your annual gas usage and then divide it into 11 equal monthly payments. The natural gas you actually use is still measured and shown on your bill each month. The 12th month is the settle-up month. If you used more natural gas than estimated, you will be billed for the difference; if you use less, the over-payment will be refunded to you (or credited to your next bill, if it is less than $75). Your Equal Pay will automatically recalculate and restart with the first bill following the settle-up month.

What will I pay?

Every month, you will pay only the equal monthly payment amount, regardless of your actual gas usage that month. In the standard adjustment month, the 12th month of the plan, you will pay the total balance due (provided there is a balance to be paid).

How do you determine my Equal Pay amount?

Using the last 12 months history of your address, the current rate you are paying, and a normal weather assumption, we estimate how much we expect you will pay for gas in the next 12 months. We then divide that amount by 11 to come up with your equal payment amount.

If the number of people living in my household changes or if I decide to stop using a piece of equipment, can I have my Equal Pay amount changed?

No. The amount will adjust automatically if there is a significant change in usage. Since the number of people living in the household does not always affect the amount of gas being used (as heat is the primary use of gas for the year), we do not make blanket adjustments based on the number of people living in the house.

If the program is called “Equal Pay” why does my amount sometimes change several times a year?

The goal of the Equal Payment Plan is for you to have a zero balance in your adjustment month. If there is a significant change in your usage (based on habit changes or weather) or if the rates change, we will adjust your equal payment amount to prevent you from having a large balance or credit in your adjustment month.

What do I do if I believe my Equal Pay adjustment is wrong?

If you have concerns about your equal payment amount, you can e-mail us or call 1-800-422-4012 for more information. We would be happy to review the amount with you and explain how and why the amount was adjusted. Keep in mind that we will not be able to adjust the amount based on any household changes.

Once I sign up, am I stuck on the plan for the whole year?

No. You can choose to cancel the Equal Payment Plan from your account at anytime. However, any balance on the account at the time you cancel will become due.

If I am moving into a house that had a large family living in it, and I will be the only person there, why do you use their usage history to determine my Equal Payment amount?

The reason we use the history of the house you will be moving into is because the house itself has a significant impact on the volume of gas used for heating. With heating being the primary source of gas consumption for most homes, the factors that can affect usage include: the age of the home, along with square footage, insulation, furnace efficiency rating, along with windows and doors. For more information on ways to make your home more energy efficient, please contact the Energy Trust of Oregon at 1-866-368-7878.

When will my Equal Pay start?

If your balance is less than $10.00 when you next billing cycle ends, your Equal Pay will begin with your next regular bill. Otherwise, the Equal Pay request will stay on your account in a pending status for up to three months. Equal Pay will be activated for your account when your balance is below $10.00.

Do I have to remember to sign up every year?

No. As long as you pay any balance owing in the standard adjustment month, your plan will recalculate and reactivate with your next bill.

What happens if I move to a new address while I am on Equal Pay?

Your Equal Pay Plan can be carried over to a new address. We simply take the actual balance on your account and add it to the amount of gas we expect you to use at the new address (based on the house’s history) through your adjustment month. We then divide that amount by the number of months you have left until your adjustment month. This new amount will be your equal payment amount through your standard adjustment month.

How do I join?

Simply sign on to your NW Natural online account to receive an estimate of what your equal monthly payment would be. From there, you can sign up for the Equal Pay Plan.