Houston, Texas (AP) For years, a handful of people in Houston have been searching for natural gas to heat homes and businesses.
But they didn’t know much about it.
They knew it was available and that it could be hard to find.
Now, they have a chance to finally know what it is they are looking for.
The Houston Gas and Electric Co. (HG&E) announced Wednesday it will provide free access to the gas market for its customers.
The new program, which runs from Nov. 10 to Jan. 4, allows anyone who has a credit card or pays with a debit card to use it at the pump to buy natural gas for use in heating and cooling.
The free gas is available at all of the company’s gas stations and on its website.
The free gas includes an unlimited supply of natural gas at the pumps and a discount for customers with gas purchases of more than $1,000.
The gas is also free for customers who have a gas meter and a bill credit.
To qualify, customers must have a credit or debit card.
Anyone with a credit cards or pay by check or money order must fill out a free application to be eligible.
The discount is $2.99 a month for the first year and $3.99 annually thereafter.
The company said it has a nationwide network of gas stations with more than 30,000 customers and plans to expand the program to other cities.
It is also adding a separate website where customers can purchase gas at other gas stations.
The program is similar to a program the company has in place for about 2 million customers who are looking to heat their homes, but customers with credit cards can get the same benefits.HG &E said it was adding another 30,200 gas stations to its network, including more than 40,000 new locations and more than 4,000 gas pumps.
Gas prices have risen about 30 cents a gallon since the end of last year and have not increased since mid-2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The price of natural-gas gas has also risen.
Hospitals and other businesses are scrambling to find ways to get natural gas, including by leasing it from the company.
The Energy Department’s Office of Natural Gas Resources (ONGR) last month issued an order that requires companies to provide customers with a list of gas properties they may be able to use to heat or cool homes, offices and other facilities.
The order also directs energy-efficient buildings to use natural gas as a heat source when it is available.
Houston Gas and Energy Services LLC, which owns the Houston Gas Company and has an interest in Houston Gas, said it will offer free access through the pump at its stations, gas stations in other areas and at its website from Nov, 10 to Feb. 11.
The company also will provide the list of properties in Houston on its websites and at gas stations throughout the region.
H&E said the program will be available to customers in Houston and beyond, and that customers with existing accounts will not have to pay any additional fees.
Herald-Tribune News Service is owned by the Houston Chronicle and Tribune Co. The Associated Press can be reached at [email protected]