Natural Gas Main Extension Frequently Asked Questions

How does MGE decide where to extend natural gas service?
MGE identifies areas within our service territory where it may be cost-effective to extend natural gas service. A decision to extend natural gas service to specific areas depends on customer participation and the potential for gas sales to offset the cost of the gas main extension. After surveying potential customers in a specific area, we will calculate a surcharge amount needed to recover the cost of the extension within 5 to 7 years, or possibly less.

Why is there a surcharge? Isn't this different from what MGE used to do?
MGE is required to recover the cost of extending new gas service from the new customers who will be served by it. Until recently, MGE needed to collect the entire cost of extending new natural gas service before we could start the project. Now, MGE recovers the cost of extending gas service through a surcharge collected over several years, rather than asking for up-front payment of all costs.

How is the surcharge collected?
The surcharge amount is added to your price per therm of natural gas. Once the amount is established, it won't change. The surcharge will remain in effect until the cost to bring natural gas service to your area has been recovered or a maximum of seven years, whichever comes first.

What happens if I sell my property before the end of the surcharge period?
The surcharge is transferred to and collected from any new owner or estate.

How much can I save by switching to natural gas?
Savings depend on the cost of your current fuel and how much you use. Historically, natural gas in our region has been less expensive than either liquid propane or fuel oil. Visit www.mge.com/comparefuel to quickly estimate your potential annual savings.

What are my installation costs?
The cost of the main extension is based on the total length of gas main required to serve an entire zone. All customers within a zone will pay the same surcharge. See Area Development Program and Zones.

The first 65 feet of service lateral extending from the gas main in the road to an approved meter location is free. Beyond 65' the charge is $6.50 per foot. Laterals installed outside of MGE's normal construction season, April 1 through November 30, are subject to an additional $250 fee to cover the cost of winter installation.

New customers will also need to convert or replace existing liquid propane equipment. Please contact your equipment dealer for cost estimates.

What's the timeline for installing gas service?
MGE first surveys potential customers in a new area. Our next step is to estimate the potential gas volumes to determine if the extension could be cost effective. Once we determine there is adequate support for the project, we'll notify customers of the target start date.

How safe is natural gas?
MGE customers have been safely using natural gas since 1949. Natural gas is naturally odorless and colorless. It's lighter than air, so it dissipates quickly outside. MGE adds a chemical "smell" to the gas so it can be easily detected if there is a problem. Always leave the premises if you detect a strong gas odor and call MGE immediately (608) 252-1111(608) 252-1111 from a safe place.

How are MGE customers billed for natural gas service?
Monthly bills include a daily customer charge and gas distribution and supply charges per therm for natural gas used during the bill period. New customers who are paying a surcharge for the gas main extension will see the surcharge added per therm of gas used. Businesses using large volumes of natural gas have a choice of rates including seasonal service for crop drying, interruptible service or transport service. See all commercial gas rates at www.mge.com/bizgasrates.

Whom do I call for more information?