Home » Customers » Montana » West Yellowstone Area Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I get gas service?
    • Come into our office to sign up for gas service. Our Customer Service Representatives will ask you for account information and make arrangements to have the gas service started. A service deposit may be required to get the service turned on, but it will be refunded with interest after you have paid 12 consecutive bills on time.

      New Construction Inside the City Limits of Great Falls and West Yellowstone

      The plumber must complete a pressure test of the new house piping which must be inspected and tagged by the city building inspector. The meter must be connected to the house piping by the plumber before the meter can be turned on. Call your local gas company office to arrange for the meter to be turned on after this inspection is complete.

      Outside the City Limits

      Call your plumber to arrange for the piping inside the building to be completed. All piping must be installed by a state licensed gas fitter. The plumber is responsible for connecting the house piping to the meter. Once the gas piping has a licensed plumber's tag attached to it certifying that the plumber has completed a pressure test and the meter is connected to the house piping by the plumber, call 791-7500 to arrange for the meter to be turned on.

      Mobile Homes

      When a mobile home is relocated to a new site, the house piping must be pressure tested, tagged by a licensed plumber, and connected to the meter by the plumber before your the meter can be turned on.
  • How do I stop gas service?
    • If you need to terminate gas service, please call 791-7500 at least 24 hours before moving since we must read the meter before closing your account. We will take a meter reading to close your account and send a final bill to your new address. Remember you are responsible for the payment of the gas bill for gas service in your name, even if you have an agreement with someone else at the service address. To protect yourself, always remember to have the gas service discontinued when you move out.
  • How does my meter get read?
    • Getting The Meter Readings

      One of our meter reading staff visits every address each month to read the meter. They normally get a meter reading, but when they are unable to access the meter, they will leave a meter reading card. The card has blank dials to draw meter hands and boxes to enter digital reading numbers which you may use to call in reading. (791-7500)

      You can help us serve you better by assuring that gates and doors are in good repair. If the meter is in a location where the meter reader will be unable to read it, call us and we will make special arrangements so you will receive accurate bills.
  • Can I Get A Meter Reading To You Before The Billing?
    • To avoid billing delays, call us at 791-7500 with your meter reading at any time of the day or night. Your gas account will bill the day after the meter reader visits your address. Call us on the same date, the date will be marked on the card. You may also call in your reading ahead of the reader's visit if the meter is difficult to access. Outside of Great Falls use our long distance toll free number 1-800-570-5688.
  • Should I Let You Know If I Have A Pet?
    • Many customers have dogs or other pets at large in the same fenced area where the gas meter is located. Please let us know about your pet so the meter reader can watch for it and avoid any confrontation with a pet who is guarding your property.

      When an animal is either aggressive or unusually fearful, we can make special arrangements for getting regular meter readings.
  • Estimated Readings
    • If your bill was estimated, the words “Estimated Reading” will be shown on the billing. Estimated readings are self correcting. If your usage has been estimated, over or under, when an actual reading is obtained your bill will automatically correct; you pay only for gas you actually used.
  • How is my bill calculated?
    • Your bill is calculated by subtracting your previous meter reading from the current meter reading. The difference is multiplied by the rate, a base charge is added and the total is your gas bill for that month

      Basic charge. This charge pays for operation expenses not related to volume sales. For example, in Great Falls construction and maintenance of approximately 400 miles of underground distribution system, maintenance of 26,000 yard lines and meters at the customer's site, 24-hour emergency service, plus the monthly costs of meter reading, calculating, printing and mailing the bills.

      Current gas delivery. These charges are based on volume delivery. They include the expenses associated with transporting natural gas to Great Falls from the gas wells, such as reserving space in the transmission pipelines and paying a shipping charge to the owners of the pipeline. The delivery charges also include the portion of the operations and maintenance charges not paid by the basic charge.

      Current gas supply charges. The supply charges are the cost of the actual natural gas used by your gas equipment. If you have chosen a gas supplier other than the utility, these charges may appear on your supplier bill. Otherwise the gas supply is furnished by the utility and appears on this bill.
  • When will I receive my bill?
    • Your meter will be read once a month and the charges for your bill calculated once each month. You will receive your bill at approximately the same time each month.
  • How do I pay my bill?
    • What's The Best Way To Pay My Bill?
      You may choose from a variety of bill payment options designed for your convenience. The easiest and most convenient is the automatic payment service offered by ZapPay described below.

      What is ZapPay?
      You may never need to write a check, lick a stamp or envelope nor worry about a payment due date. You won't need to rely on the mail.

      Best of all, it's free! ZapPay service can pay your bill automatically, on time, even when you're out of town or just too busy. With ZapPay, the amount you owe is debited from your checking account each month ten days after you receive your bill. It's more convenient than writing a check. And you still get a monthly statement for your records in plenty of time to contact us if you have any questions.

      To sign up for ZapPay call 791-7500 (outside Great Falls) call 1-800-570-5688.

      What is Budget Billing?
      With Budget Billing Payments, twelve months' gas bills are averaged into approximately equal payments based on your annual usage. Budget Billing Plan allows you to more easily budget your monthly expensesis particularly convenient when used in combination with ZapPay.

      How can I pay With Cash?
      You may choose one of the following options to pay with cash and you will receive a stamped receipt:

      * in person to the cashier at our offices located at River Park Tower Building, #1 First Avenue South in Great Falls.
      * send it in from the comfort of your car at the drive through payment station in Great Falls.
      * pay with cash (or check) at the Stockmen's Bank in Cascade.

      If you are paying with check or money order, you may still pay in person or:
      * mail it in the convenient return addressed envelope enclosed with your billing statement.
  • How can I conserve my energy usage?
    • Below are some ideas of how you can save energy and help decrease your energy bill.

      Get your furnace checked. Contact your local heating contractor to schedule a home heating system inspection. Change your furnace filter monthly

      Turn down the heat. Set thermostats between 65 and 70 degrees during the winter. Lower the thermostat when sleeping or away from home for more than a few hours. (Warmer temperatures are recommenced for homes with infants, ill or elderly persons.) Invest in a programmable thermostat. It can automatically lower and raise your home's temperature.

      Consider a gas fireplace. If you have a room that is hard to heat, consider purchasing a gas fireplace or space heater.

      Turn down the temperature on your water heater. You can save more than 10% on your water-heating bill by turning down your water heater just ten degrees - from the 140 degrees to 130 degrees.

      Install flow-restricting showerheads. You can reduce hot water usage by up to 50% without affecting shower pressure.

      Repair leaky faucets. A leak that fills a coffee cup in 10 minutes wastes 3,200 gallons of water a year.

      Look for the blue flame. Be sure that all burners have a blue, cone-shaped flame. A yellow flame indicates clogged air inlets or burners that need adjustment. Contact our service department immediately if you don't see a blue flame. 791-7536 or 791-7500

      Check the seal on your oven door. Gaps or tears in the seal will let heat escape and waste energy.

      Don't over dry your clothes. Use the auto-dry feature on your gas dryer, if you have it or keep a close eye on the machine.

      Run full loads. Be sure that dishwashers, washing machines and clothes dryers are fully loaded before running.

      Compare energy-effciency ratings and annual operating costs. When buying new appliances, a slightly higher initial cost for a high-efficiency appliance could pay itself back in a very short time through energy savings and lower utility bills.

      Cover your windows. Use drapes or shutters to reduce drafts and radiant heat loss. Open coverings on south facing windows during the day to let sunlight in.

      Check your insulation. Find out if you have the recommended level of insulation in your attic and basement (or crawl space).

      Consider storm or double-pane windows and doors. A less expensive alternative is plastic sheeting, which can be temporarily fastened over doors and windows to retain heat.
  • What is a Degree Day?
    • A degree day is a measure of the coldness of the weather. To determine the number of degree days in a single day, we take the average temperature and subtract it from 65 degrees. Most people start heating their homes when the temperature falls below 65.

      For example, if the high is 10 above and the low is 4 above on a certain day, the average temperature is 7 degrees (10 + 4 = 14/2 = 7). To get degree days, subtract 7 from 65 to get 58 degree days. (65 - 7 = 58).

      To get annual degree days, the daily degree days are added together for a full year. In an average year, the Great Falls area has 7,650 degree days.
  • What if I'm having trouble paying my bill?
    • If you are having trouble paying all or part of your bill, please let us know. Our Company policy clearly states that we will do our best to work out bill payment arrangements. But we cannot make arrangements unless you call to let us know you are having difficulties. We welcome your call to our customer service representative at 791-7500.

      Bills more than 30 days past due are subject to termination of service with a reconnect charge. We don't want to shut your gas service off, so please call us and make arrangements to pay your bill if it is past due.

      Financial assistance in paying your utility bill is available through the Federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) at the addresses in Great Falls listed below:

      Opportunities Inc.
      905 1 Avenue North, Great Falls MT 59401
      (406) 761-0310

      Energy Share assistance is available at the same office and can often help those who do not qualify for needed assistance under the low income program.

      Energy Share of Montana is a private, non-profit fuel fund supported through cooperation of utilities in the state and funded through voluntary donations from utility customers, the utilities and from others.
  • How can I contact you?
    • Please visit the contact page for your area.         
  • How do I get a new service line installed?
    • How do I get a new service line installed?

      Service Line Installation
      To arrange for construction of the service line from the main gas line in the street to the building, call Customer Service at 791-7500, and West Yellowstone Gas at 646-4437.
  • Are conservation loans available?
    • Energy West is pleased to offer our customers a convenient way to save energy.

      No Interest and Low Interest Loans:
      To be eligible for a loan you must be a customer on the Energy West utility underground distribution system. Your natural gas account must be current (not past due) to qualify for the loan.

      Starting the Loan Process:
      Apply for the loan at:

      FIRST INTERSTATE BANK
      9:00 - 5:30 PM Monday - Friday
      1401 Market Place Dr.
      Great Falls, MT. 59405
      406-453-6300 FAX 406-454-6320
  • Who do I call before I dig?
    • What is Underground Location?
      In Montana, all utilities can be notified of your intention to excavate through one simple call to the Montana Utility Coordinating Council. Call the number (1-800-424-5555) two working days before you dig.  There is no charge to you for this service. Each utility will mark the ground where their underground installations are located. You will be asked for the following information:

      * County, City, Street Address
      * Type of Work, Extent of Work
      * Name of Caller, Title, Telephone number
      * Best time to call
      * Start Date, Start Time
      * Contractor, Contractor Address or Contractor Number

      Costly and time consuming repairs can result from utility lines damaged during an excavation. You and your neighbors may be without utility service or faced with a hazardous situation until repairs can be made.

      Why do I need to Call?
      Sometimes people feel this call isn't necessary since they're planning only minor digging projects such as setting a few fence posts or deep digging a garden. Over time, the freezing and thawing process can affect the depth of underground installations and the only way you can be assured of digging with complete safety is to call for a location. Even after you call and have the utility line located and marked, any digging around that line should be done by hand very carefully.

      How safe is Natural Gas?
      The entire underground distribution network, from the main to the appliances, is built and installed with you in mind. There is no question of its safety as shown by the natural gas safety record. However, it is possible through misuse or accident to occasionally have a gas leak.

      For your protection, to alert you if a gas leak should occur, a harmless chemical is added to gas to give it a distinctive odor. If you ever smell this odor, follow your nose to the source. It could be as simple as a range burner partially on or other minor, easily corrected problem.

      * If you can't find the source or if the odor is present in several rooms of your home, leave immediately and make sure everyone in the home is outside. Then call our Emergency Service number from a nearby address.
      * To check for leaks, our emergency service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, free of charge.

      Emergency Service Numbers:
      Great Falls calling area: 791-7500
      Outside Great Falls: 1-800-570-5688

      For Your Safety
      For your safety and convenience, be sure your new gas appliances are installed by licensed gas fitters or licensed plumbers.    Areas outside the Great Falls city limit must comply with National Fuel Gas Codes and Montana State regulation.
  • Do you offer appliance protection or repair?
    • CAP - Complete Appliance Protection

      For one low monthly fee Complete Appliance Protection will repair and maintain your appliances regardless of how old they are. Complete Appliance Protection pays the full cost of any repair or maintenance; there is no deductible. If it is determined that your appliance is not worth repairing, then Complete Appliance protection will help you with the purchase of a new appliance.

      For more information or help with any questions, please e-mail us at Montana Customer Service or call us at 406 791-7500 or 800 570-5688 or visit us at http://www.app-plus.com/ewst/
  • What other services do you provide?
    • Other Services that we are happy to provide

      Gift Certificates
      Wondering about that special gift for someone? Think gift certificates! Gas service gift certificates are the perfect gift for everyone on your gift list who pays a gas bill and they take the hassle out of shopping. Available in amounts starting at $10, certificates may be purchased at our local offices.

      Hospitality Room
      Our Hospitality Room in the Great Falls offices is available to local nonprofit groups or service clubs for meetings, education sessions, or other events. For more information call 791-7500.

      River Tower Park
      This small, private park west of the Great Falls offices at #1 First Avenue South may be reserved for special events.  A number of our employees and customers have found the landscaped setting of this park added just the right atmosphere for their outdoor marriage ceremony and it is often used for picnic lunches or barbecues.

      Service Calls
      Any time your pilots do not work or you do not have heat in your home, you should call for service. An emergency number is answered 24 hours a day and someone will respond to help you with the problem day or night.

      Trouble Shooting Repairs
      If you have a problem with a gas appliance not working correctly, our local service representative will come to your home, examine the appliance, and refer you to a heating or plumbing contractor. In West Yellowstone, some problems can be fixed by the service technician at that time and you will be billed for the repair parts.
  • How safe is natural gas?
    • The entire underground distribution network, from the main to the appliances, is built and installed with you in mind. There is no question of its safety as shown by the natural gas safety record. However, it is possible through misuse or accident to occasionally have a gas leak.

      For your protection, to alert you if a gas leak should occur, a harmless chemical is added to gas to give it a distinctive odor. If you ever smell this odor, follow your nose to the source. It could be as simple as a range burner partially on or other minor, easily corrected problem.

      * If you can't find the source or if the odor is present in several rooms of your home, leave immediately and make sure everyone in the home is outside. Then call our Emergency Service number from a nearby address.
      * To check for leaks, our emergency service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, free of charge.

      Emergency Service Numbers:
      Great Falls calling area: 791-7500
      Outside Great Falls: 1-800-570-5688
  • Why is natural gas a great buy?
    • Why is Natural Gas a great buy?

      Gas Appliances Gas appliances are your best buy for today and into the future. A wide selection of high efficiency gas equipment offers an answer for every need. Whether you need space heating, cooking or another type of appliance, new and innovative designs are available in all appliance types:

      * freestanding fireplace or fireplace insert
      * gas furnace
      * gas water heater
      * range
      * clothes dryer
      * space heater
      * garage heater
      * barbecue grill
      * gas yard light

      You will find a variety of options at your local dealers.

      Gas Space Heating
      Natural gas and propane are your most economical energy options. You will save appreciably with gas space heating. Gas furnaces are now available up to 96 percent efficient. There is a wide range of space heaters available which allow you to install warmth wherever it is desirable.

      New generation gas space heaters are available with direct vents, a development which eases installation and reduces costs, making them ideal for retrofit in homes and for additional heat source in additions.  Free standing and fireplace inserts make an attractive and stylish addition to a home and many are high efficiency so they can function as the sole heat source. Call your heating contractor or your local dealer for more information.

      Gas Water Heating
      Gas water heaters heat water faster than electricity and come in a wide range of sizes. Heating water is the second largest user of energy in homes. Your local plumber has more information.

      Gas for Cooking
      Gourmet chefs prefer cooking with gas because of temperature control and smokeless broiling it offers. New gas cooking equipment is pilotless so you use gas only when you are cooking. Gas cooking saves about a third over electricity; one of the reasons it's used by most restaurants in town.

      Gas for Clothes Drying
      Gas clothes dryers are the least expensive and quickest way to automatically dry your clothes. Gas leaves them lighter, fluffier, and with fewer wrinkles.

      If You Have Questions
      Our customer service representatives can answer questions about natural gas appliances. Or you may see your preferred appliance dealer or heating contractor for more information.
  • What is natural gas & propane?
    • Natural gas is primarily methane, the smallest hydrocarbon molecule and propane is a three carbon chain. Both reach your burner in nearly the same form they are found in the ground. Since gas requires little processing before it is fed into the pipeline, the delivery system is very efficient, making gas the best energy buy in Montana.  Both natural gas and propane are odorless and colorless in nature. We add the “rotten egg” smell for safety, to aid in detecting gas leaks.

      Natural gas and propane will not make you sick or poison you. When natural gas and propane are burned, they produce water and carbon dioxide, so they are the cleanest burning, least polluting fuels.

      Where does it come from?
      About two thirds of our natural gas supply comes from wells in Montana and Wyoming. The remaining third is imported from Canada. A surplus of natural gas is available from reserves already discovered.  Our propane supply comes from refineries and from natural gas wells.

      What is the gas advantage?
      Natural gas and propane are nature's most perfect fuels since they are clean and efficient. In more than 98 percent of the homes in our service areas, they provide economical energy for heating, cooking, water heating, and clothes drying. Best of all, gas is the lowest cost fuel.


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