Nicor Gas History
Nicor Gas' roots go back to local Ottawa bankers and businessmen who formed the Ottawa Gas Light and Coke Company in 1855. The company converted coal into coke for iron making and sold the flammable gas waste product to be used for lighting and cooking. Because some the company's directors supported Abraham Lincoln's runs for the U.S. Senate, the company distinguished itself by providing gas lanterns to light the first Lincoln-Douglas debate that took place in Ottawa on Aug. 21, 1858. Unlike the rapid mergers and consolidations that expanded Chicago's gas and electric utilities at the time, Ottawa Gas Light and Coke Company remained independent and locally owned following the Civil War and stayed so through 1909.
Beginning in 1910, Ottawa Gas Light and Coke Company and some 23 other utility and trolley railway companies were taken over by Illinois Valley Gas and Electric Company. This utility holding company and 38 other small suburban utilities were then taken over a year later by Samuel Insull's Public Service Company of Northern Illinois. Though Insull not only got richer, his power-grab helped develop suburban and rural electrification and gas service in northern Illinois outside Chicago. But in 1929, Insull's massive Middle West Utilities empire went bust. As a result, the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 gave the SEC power to break up and reorganize the Insull's troubled utilities in northern Illinois.
Under SEC approval in 1937, Commonwealth Edison (Com-Ed) came to control northern Illinois' three major gas utilities. In 1950, Com-Ed merged two other ex-Insull companies, Illinois Northern Utilities Company and Western United Gas & Electric Company, into the Public Service Company of Northern Illinois. In 1953, Public Service merged into Com-Ed. The following year, Com-Ed reorganized; it spun off its gas businesses and formed the Northern Illinois Gas (NiGas) Company to run it. Thereafter, Com-Ed and NiGas formerly separated.
Through the 1960s, NiGas expanded its business by acquiring local gas utilities, increasing its gas underground storage capabilities, and then briefly diversified into non-utility investments. When deregulation started in Illinois, NiGas reorganized to become Nicor Gas. These initial years were rocky and controversial for Nicor, leaving it somewhat weakened. In 2011, Atlanta-based AGL Resources bought Nicor Gas, a move that gave AGL control over two very large metropolitan gas distribution markets. In 2016, AGL Resources merged with Southern Company, creating a utility with the 2nd largest customer base of approximately 9 million customers.
Now, as a subsidiary of Southern Company, Nicor Gas serves more than 2.2 million customers in a service territory that encompasses most of the northern third of Illinois, excluding Chicago. Nicor believes that part of their corporate responsibility is to give back to the communities they serve. Their philanthropic focus includes providing bill payment assistance, helping with food insecurity, protecting the environment, and enabling economic opportunity through education, job training and capital investment.
Nicor Gas Service Territory
Nicor Gas delivers natural gas to more than 2.2 million customers in these northern Illinois counties:
Nicor Gas serves these cities:
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- Enter zip code.
- Select "gas".
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In Illinois, gas utility service territories may overlap in some zip codes. If the tool reports that it has found more than one serving your zip code, don't worry! Just choose your local utility from those listed.
You'll then get to see the listing of all the energy suppliers' plans available in your area, along with rates, term lengths, and links to more detany information.
How to Start New Nicor Gas Service
Starting service with Nicor Gas is easy and convenient. Just visit their web site to complete their start service form. You can also sign up for your My Account online to securely receive and view your bills as well as schedule payments online anytime.
Customers can also apply to start service by calling 888.Nicor4u (888.642.6748).
Be ready to supply:
- Service Address: The address where you want your service turned on or switched.
- The start date for gas service.
- Your name as the primary account holder
- Your contact information such as a phone number, e-mail address, mailing address, and previous address.
- Entrance Instructions
- Who will be responsible for paying the natural gas service
- The address you want the bill sent to.
Expect for it to take 48 hours to process your request. Same day requests are not available. Service will start in less than 7 calendar days after your request is approved.
A public utility may not deny, cancel, or nonrenew utility service solely on the basis of credit information of prospective or existing customers. However, Illinois utility companies may deny your application for service if you owe them money for the same type of service at the same address or a different address.
Will I Need to Pay a Deposit?
In Illinois, no utility can require any new residential customer to pay a security deposit as a condition of receiving utility service. However, the utility can require a deposit if ONE of the following applies:
- Nicor's meter was tampered with at your previous service.
- Your previous Nicor service was disconnected for non-payment, and you did not pay the final bill.
- If you are already a customer and have 4 late payments in the past 12 months.
- You are applying for new service for an address where the former customer was disconnected for non-payment and they still reside at the same address.
- Your credit score is below a predetermined minimum, you have no credit history, or you have filed for bankruptcy.
If you must pay a deposit -- Nicor Gas must notify you in writing no later than 45 days after your application for service is approved. IL law states that deposits cannot be greater than an estimated two months usage.
Customers don't need to pay the deposit all at once. You can rquest the utility to divide your security deposit into at least three installments. Nicor Gas can hold deposits for residential service for 12 months. If the customer pays their bill in full and on time for 12 consecutive months, the utility will refund the deposit plus interest.
Understand Nicor Gas Delivery and Supply Charges
In Illinois, residential customers pay for both the cost to deliver their gas as well as for the amount of gas supply that they use.
What Are Nicor Gas PTC Charges?
When deregulation began in Illinois, all utilities that wanted to participate in consumer choice had to limit their business to natural gas delivery. However, the Illinois Commerce Commission requires these utilities to provide gas supply at a default rate to customers in their service territory who don't shop for an alternate gas supplier.
As a result, these utilities must purchase their gas supply for the default rate from natural gas companies on the wholesale market. Most gas utilities in the U.S. north buy their winter supply in summer and keep it stored underground until it's needed. They also purchase gas on the market year 'round to supplement their stored supplies.
The ICC oversees Nicor Gas default rates. Illinois gas utilities use a regulatory mechanism called the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) to compute the monthly gas supply price for their customers. Under the PGA mechanism, the price that default-service customers pay per therm of gas that they consume can change monthly. Also, under Illinois law, utilities can't make a profit from this per-therm charge. This is because the per-therm charge is strictly a pass-through amount for the price of gas that utilities pay on the market.
The PGA includes the anticipated cost of gas for the month as well as adjustments from prior periods that are used to make up for over or under charges. The ICC does not approve these rates in advance but rather reviews them annually. It can then order gas utilities to pay refunds to customers if the utilities weren't using sound business practices to buy gas at a reasonable cost.
Nicor Gas customers can use the PGA default rate as their "Price to Compare"(PTC) when they shop for plans offered by alternative gas suppliers.
Market prices for natural gas change constantly. This is due to over all gas demand, available interstate pipeline capacity, and gas production. As a result, the Nicor Gas default rate changes month-to-month. Most noticeable is how much the default supply charge can vary seasonally; low some months, higher the next. Consequently when market prices are higher, customers' bills could be correspondingly higher.
Like most northern U.S. natural gas utilities, Nicor Gas buys most of its winter gas supply in the summer and stores it until it's needed. While summer gas prices are usually still cheaper, the increasing use of natural gas to generate electricity for summer air conditioning is having an increased affect on prices.
All this means that with the default rate, you can never be too sure what you'll pay from one month to the next.
Nicor Gas Current PTC Residential Rates:
$0.690 per therm, expires 4/30/2023
How Much Do Nicor Gas Supply Charges Cost?
Nicor Gas' deliver charges are made up of a monthly customer charge $17.96 and a usage-amount distribution charge ($0.0838 per therm).
Let's plug all these numbers into a practical estimate...
The US Energy Information Agency reports that in 2019, Illinois' residential customers used an average of about 87 therms each month.
Therefore, an average, non-winter, residential PTC bill from Nicor Gas roughly breaks down like this:
|Rate per 87 Therms Used||Total Monthly Customer Charges||Total|
|PTC Supply Rate
(excluding other surcharges)
|Monthly Distribution Charges
(excluding riders and other surcharges)
|$0.0838 per therm (distribution)||$17.96||$25.25|
Understand Illinois Energy Choice
Illinois natural gas consumers are free to choose to buy gas from Alternate Gas Suppliers (AGS). These alternative suppliers shop deals with different gas suppliers on the wholesale market to offer competitive rates. As such, their rates are not controlled by ICC. This way, AGS are able to offer competitively priced fixed rate plans for a variety of term lengths.
Though it can seem confusing, shopping gas plans is an easy process. The trick is finding the one that meets your needs.
That's why retail energy suppliers in Illinois offer two types of plans:
Your Energy Usage and Your Nicor Gas Bill
Your energy usage habits are unique, but as any Illinois native will tell you, Illinois winters are usually long and often bitterly cold while summers can be hot, hazy, and humid. So, your biggest energy usage will usually follow the weather. However, remember all those other domestic activities, like cooking and cleaning, will also add to your monthly bill.
As of 2019, about 77 % of homes in the state relied on gas for heat. In recent years, however, national home building trends increasingly construct homes that rely on electric heating systems, such as Geothermal heat pumps or electric radiant heat systems.
Most midwest households rely on air conditioning during the summer months. But while air conditioning use only makes up 2% of a home's total annual energy usage, Illinois residents spend on average 5% of their annual energy costs on air conditioning. About 25% of Illinois households have window or wall-mounted AC systems but about 65% have central AC.
The remainder of energy use goes to water heating, refrigeration, lighting, electronics, clothes dryers, cooking, and small appliances.
Want to learn more about your home energy usage? Nicor Gas customers can track 24 months of their home's natural gas usage plus other relevant information by logging on to your Nicor Gas account.
The most effective way to cut your energy bills is to reduce your usage by sealing your doors and windows against winter and summer drafts. Adding insulation to your attic, sealing and insulating your basement, and purchasing a programmable or smart thermostat can also improve your home's energy efficiency and help cut your natural gas bills. Your utility company can provide a wealth of resources and may offer programs to help you improve your home's energy performance.
Understand Your Nicor Gas Bill
The typical four page Nicor Gas bill contains many details that can be confusing to customers. However, there's lots of useful information to help you better understand your usage and what actually goes into your Nicor Gas rates. Below, we summarize the most important items you need to understand on a sample Nicor Gas natural gas bill.
Nicor Gas Sample Bill
- A: Account Summary. This shows the Customer name, the service address, the 11 digit Nicor Gas customer number, and the meter number. It alsow shows the billing period and the bill's issue date. Lastly it breaks the most recent payments received, the newest charges, and the total amount due.
- B: Nicor Message Center. This section displays any messages from Nicor about billing or other important matters affecting your service.
- C: Monthly Energy Profile. Here you can see your gas usage for the past 12 months. You can compare this to the charges per month graph, below.
- D: New Charge Summary. This section displays details about your Nicor Gas distribution charges which includes the monthly customer charge and usage-amount distribution charge.
- E: Current Natural Gas Cost. This shows your your naural gas supply charges. If your generation supply comes from an Alternate Gas Supplier, then here you will see their name and their charges listed.
- F: Taxes. Taxes include the Illinois Utility Fund Tax and the State Revenue Tax.
- G: Payment Stub - Total charges. If you mail your bill, be sure to include this payment stub with your payment.
- H: Payment Stub - Amounts. This section shows the total amount due for your Nicor Gas service. It shows your 11 digit Nicor Gas account number. Note that if your payment is late, a late fee of 1.5% will be charged to your next bill for any unpaid balance
Compare Nicor Gas Rates
Nicor Gas Coupons, Energy Promotions, Discounts, Rebates and Promo Codes
As your local natural gas utility, Nicor Gas offers several rebate and energy efficiency programs to help customers save money off their monthly bill by upgrading their home's energy performance. Some programs also offer money-saving incentives while others could make paying your monthly bills much easier during those expensive winter and summer months.
|Program Name||Program Type||Benefit|
|Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program||Energy Efficiency Program||
Homeowners can get rebates on HVAC systems, boilers, furnaces, duct sealing, air sealing, and insulation.
Customers must work with a Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program approved contractor to be eligible for a rebate.
|Free Products and Services||Energy Efficiency Rebate Program||
Get free DIY energy-saving products. Improvement kits include water saving aerators and showerheads, sower timers, weatherstripping, and self-adhesive door sweep.
|Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP)||Income Eligible Energy Efficiency||
This program provides energy-saving offerings specially designed for income eligible customers to help improve energy efficiency, home comfort and building safety.
IHWAP provides supplemental funding for energy efficiency projects for low income residents.
Customers can apply by contacting Community Action Agency for your area to see if you qualify.
|Nicor Gas Sharing Program||Bill payment assistance||
Funded through direct contributions from Nicor Gas' customers and employees and administered for Nicor Gas by the the Salvation Army, the Sharing Grant Program provides one-time heating grants to limited and fixed-income households. Eligible customers can receive grants of up to $400 on their bills.
Customers residential customers who are past-due on their Nicor Gas bill and have a financial hardship can also apply for once every two years for a grant up to $250 through Nicor's new Shield of Caring Program.
You can also help your neighbors by contributing to the Sharing Grant Program via your MyAccount.
|Nicor Gas Payment Arrangements||Bill payment assistance||
Nicor Gas offers payment arrangements to allow residential customers to pay an overdue account balance while remaining connected. Customers are eligible for one Payment Arrangement every 12 months.
|Limited Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)||Bill payment assistance||
LIHEAP provides both regular and emergency financial grants to eligible households to help pay heating and/or utility bills. LIHEAP benefits are funded by the federal government and can be accessed through your nearest Community Action Agency.
Qualifying customers will have direct payments made to Nicor Gas on their behalf.
|Energy Aide Program||Bill payment assistance||
The Nicor Gas Energy Aide program is administered by select local agencies. Eligible residential customers can receive an Energy Aide Grant up to $250 toward their past due balance and does not need to be paid back.
Read Nicor Gas Reviews
Since Nicor Gas serves a midsized midwest market segment, Illinois residential customers throughout the Chicago area can get a better picture of how good a job it does by comparing it to similar sized utilities. Nicor Gas is accredited with the BBB. The utility rated high in Escalent's 2021 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study and performed well in J.D. Power's 2020 utility residential customer satisfaction study.
|IL Energy Ratings Score||Better Business Bureau||Escalent 2021 Utility Study||J.D. Power 2020 Gas Utility Study|
of 1000 pts
of 1000 pts
How Do I Get the Cheapest Nicor Gas Rate?
Shopping for a new Nicor Gas alternative retail gas plan can at first seem bewildering. Once you understand how it works, though, it becomes an easy and straightforward process. But to make that happen, you should have these three things with you when you shop for gas.
- Your current bill. Your past usage per billing period can help you estimate a how much a plan might cost you each month.
- The current Nicor Gas PTC rate. Knowing the current Nicor Gas supply price lets you compare rates offered by alternative gas suppliers. This way, you can get a better feel for what suppliers are offering, for how long, and if any of their incentives make their price work for your family's need.
- Your Nicor Gas customer account number. Your 11 digit account number is at the top of your bill. Having this handy lets you sign up with an alternative gas supplier right away.
Nicor Gas Shopping Questions
The best way for any gas customer to avoid making a bad choice it to ask the right questions. That way, you can learn exactly the information that can save you money. When you shop for gas service in Illinois, always be sure to ask these important questions:
- Is the rate variable or is it fixed?
- How long does the plan contract term run?
- Does the plan include any recurring monthly charges?
- Is the rate competitive with the current Nicor Gas supply rate annual average? Remember that Nicor Gas's rate changes monthly!
- Does the supplier offer any customer incentives or rewards programs?
- What happens when the contract with the AGS ends?
Other Commonly Asked Illinois gas Questions:
Who bills me? Most suppliers include their charges on your Nicor Gas bill, but some send you their own bill. So be sure to ask.
What are the Terms of Service? In Illinois, energy choice plans must include Terms of Service that explain and identify specific charges and any fees a customer will face when they sign up for an gas plan. Not all suppliers have the same terms. That's why all Illinois energy choice customers should read and understand the terms of service and contract summary for any plan they are interested in before they sign on to the plan.
What is the Right of Rescission? According to Illinois Law, residential customers have the right to rescind or cancel an agreement with a retail natural gas supplier "within 10 calendar days after the natural gas utility processes the enrollment request".
What are early termination fees? Before 2020, switching retail suppliers before a contract ended used to involve paying early termination fees. However, Illinois gas retail customers can now terminate their contracts with alternative gas suppliers at any time without any termination fees or penalties!
Where can I find more information on my usage? Nicor Gas customers can easily access a 24 month history of their through their Nicor Gas online account.
Compare Nicor Gas Rates in Your Area
Bill Questions? Gas Out? Contact Nicor Gas!
Having problems or interruptions with your Nicor Gas Service? Here's the proper people to call.
Nicor Gas Billing Problems
First thing to do is contact Nicor Gas Customer Service at 888.Nicor4u (888.642.6748) and learn what options you have. Have your account number ready. You can also apply for payment methods online through your Nicor Gas account.
Consider Budget Billing: If you are constantly blind-sided by seasonally high bills, check out Nicor Gas's budget billing options. These payment plan average out your gas costs over the cost of the year. This ensures that customers aren't presented with unexpectedly high bills at peak-usuage times of the year. Approximately every four months, Nicor reevaluates your Budget Plan payment amount to determine if it is in line with your actual usage and adjusts the amount up or down. Any change automatically appears on your next bill statement.
In certain cases, Nicor can extend your bill's due date until after the 10th of the month to help you avoid late payment charges. To apply, contact Nicor Customer Service.
Nicor Gas Emergencies and Outages
Natural gas leaks are extremely dangerous. Any kind of spark can ignite an explosion. Leave the area immediately if:
Don't try to find the source of the leak. Just stop what you're doing and move to a safe distance at least 350 feet away.
Call 911 immediately and then notifiy Nicor Gas at 888.Nicor4u (888.642.6748).
Nicor Gas Service Area Providers
|NextEra Energy Services||
|Sunwave Gas & Power||
|National Gas & Electric||