A Line in the Sand

Since 1980 I’ve had an electric stove; though not the same stove, nor the same house, nor the same town, nor the same state . . but who cares that since 1980 I’ve lived in 14 houses in 6 cities in 4 states!  What really matters is that since 1980 I’ve wanted a gas stove.  I want this stove.


The gas company has been here and we can get gas to the house.  The plumber has been here and we can get gas to the kitchen.  We cannot get gas to the heater or water heater.  We would have to re-do one section of the kitchen cabinets to make it fit.  It would be relatively easy to re-do one section of my kitchen and put in this stove.


We could move the section of cabinets to the right of the stove down so the new stove fits.  I have a desk at the end of that section of cabinets and I could remove the desk.  I want to take the microwave/vent out and put in a real vent.  We can put the pipe through the wall and then up through the ceiling/attic in the garage.  The garage is on the back side of this wall.  I hate having the microwave above the stove.  Vince is always wanting to heat up something while I’m trying to cook and it gives me little clearance when canning.  So, I’d want to build a little shelf with the microwave.  Maybe move those little short cabinets down to the end and build a shelf under them for a plain (non-vented) microwave.  I wouldn’t even have to change the countertop!  I would need to replace the fridge, wall oven and dishwasher and go with stainless.  Wouldn’t bother me because the fridge downstairs is stainless . . we could just switch those two out.  I do not love my dishwasher and wouldn’t mind changing it out for sure.  I might just wait on the wall oven for now . . leave the one there til I have a problem with it or get tired of looking at it.

What’s keeping me from doing all this?  The gas company has a “customer charge” .. about $10 per month.  Doesn’t matter how much or how little gas we use . . there’s always that monthly customer charge.  The electric company has a customer charge and a “city license fee” each month.  I will not pay the gas company $10 to be their customer!  Don’t have a whole lot of choice about paying it to the electric company.  That just doesn’t seem right to me.  Charge what you want for my electricity or gas, including your expenses or whatever but don’t charge me to be your customer!  Do you think that’s right?

Dang, I’d like to have a gas stove! 🙂



  1. 1

    June9190 says

    How can the gas company charge you to be their customer, and esp. in this day and age!!! I’d say that’s “Highway Robbery”

  2. 2


    I went to gas when we built our new house. I got a Wolf stove and let me tell you…It is sooooo worth it…

    However the 10 bucks is soooo not right. Fight it gir!


  3. 4

    Evelyn says

    I’ve never heard of a gas company charging a monthly charge! That is one nice stove though… I have a very old 6 burner gas with a griddle on the side, oven underneath on one side and storage on the other. I would like a new stove, but I need that big griddle. Still, we had to have a convection oven installed and it was a big deal to get the gas all in place for the new oven. Next year I am getting stainless steel work tables! Oh – and one thing I hate about the household gas stoves – there always seems to be 1 burner that will only simmer and only 1 burner that will actually bring a big pan of water to a boil – the other burners just seem to be medium heat. I’ve seen that on several household gas stoves and that just drives me nuts!

    • 4.1


      Judy, that’s my dream too, I’d kill for a professional stove! May I suggest though, if you go that route, you go propane instead of natural gas?

      You can buy your own take if you prefer, and then not worry about any monthly fees… but mainly because if you and Vince end up moving out to the country, you’re going to want to take the oven with you, and there won’t be any natural gas in the rural areas in Missouri.

      • says

        We can’t have propane here in the city where gas is available. If we did re-arrange the kitchen for that commercial stove to fit, we’d have to leave it when we sell the house. We couldn’t leave a gaping hole for someone else to figure out what to do with. What will probably happen is that we will just wait til we’re in the country and if the house we buy doesn’t already have gas, we’ll go with propane. I doubt anything happens here.

  4. 5

    Helen says

    Our monthly gas charge is 18.00. It doesn’t bother me a bit to pay the gas company their fee every month, I just figure it pays for them to have put the line to my house ( which didn’t cost me anything to install at the time). We replaced our oil sucking, line freezing, cha-ching oil furnace 2 years ago, with gas. I’m pretty sure the savings we have realized in those two winters have paid for that furnance already.
    I look at those monthly charges this way, if they weren’t up front about it, the charge would be buried in your bill somewhere. The gov’t here forced the hydro company to itemize their bills a few years back and people complained about the things like transportation, etc etc. They were still paying the same price for their electricity, they could just see the breakdown………. I personally just look for the amount owing, and figure that is the cost of doing business with company XYZ. Just my two cents worth. By the way, I love your blog and read it pretty much every day.

  5. 6

    Rita E says

    I think if you really want it you should get the stove and pay the gas company. Our water company charges a sliding scale for water usage and I would guess that the first 0-1000 gallons charge includes a flat fee to everyone for being a customer. So whether it’s hidden in the rate calculation or listed separately for everyone to see we are all paying to be a customer. Showing it separately is maybe poor marketing and rubs people the wrong way but they would have to collect some monthly fee to cover their costs not related to the product or service – as you said to cover other expenses.

    • 6.1


      But so does everyone else — Wal-Mart, the doctors, the car mechanics but they add it in to their cost and don’t have it as a separate “customer charge”. I’m a longarm quilter and when someone sends me a quilt, yes it takes time to open the box, figure out what quilting design to do, talk with the customer but that’s all added in to the cost . . part of the job. I don’t charge some up front fee for anything. I doubt I pay it . . because I don’t have to!

  6. 7

    Marla says

    I agree with CJ. Even if you live in town, you can get a propane tank for outside. I live in a subdivision and for several years I had a ventless fireplace in my living room. It was a wonderful thing to have. Not hard to install either. So worth it!

  7. 8


    My husband wnated a gas stove too. We had the propane tanks installed, gas lines run and the stove installed. Now he hates it. I don’t care one way or the other but he can’t wait for the stove to break so he can put an electric one back!

  8. 9


    In GA, they decided to deregulate the gas industry several years back and it has cost more ever sense (go figure–I saw that coming!!!) The gas companies here charge $5.95 a month for a “customer service” charge. Gee thanks. So we pay to be their customers now too. I just pay it because I LOVE my gas stove. In the long run it may end up cheaper compared to electric.

    • 9.1


      If we knew we’d be here for a while, I’d probably consider it but by the time we had to do a bit of kitchen remodel, pay over $6K for the stove, pay the plumber, etc., it wouldn’t be worth it for as long as we’ll be here.

  9. 10

    Sibyl says


    I hear your pain. Can you put in propane instead of natural gas? That way you pay for what is in the tank, when it is empty or near empty refill it—i am talking about one that is in the back yard.

    As far as the customer charge. I worked for the electric company here in town for 10+ years. Yes each utility has a customer charge. The reason is—it allows you to use service when you want to. Most of us don’t realize that we are paying it because our utility bills are usually quite a bit greater than the charge. I remember back when I worked—and I quit 16-17 years ago. It was 6.95 per month. If you had a vacant house and had service on there so you co go over there just a little bit and want lights on. You still paid that charge. Yes it didn’t seem fair, but you had the convenience of having service on when YOU want it. I know it makes having that dream of a stove a bit more expensive.

    Hope this explains it.

    • 10.1


      No, it makes no sense and no, I’m not paying it. I figure they’re making money off me every time I turn on a burner and I’m not going to pay them extra to let them make money off me. Whether I use their gas or not, that line is running right by my house and they’re making nothing off me now. I’d be more than happy to pay them for what I use but I’m not paying them anything just to be their customer.

  10. 11

    Toni says

    We pay $10 a month here also. We have a gas furnance and ventless gas logs. For about 5 months a year we use no gas whatsoever but it would cost $50 to have it turned off and then reconnected in the fall. A no win situation.

    • 11.1


      Exactly! Since I’ve made it since 1980 without gas, guess I’ll survive without it and keep my $10. Hey . . over a year, that’s $120. It’s more he principle and not the $10 though.

  11. 12


    Oh for sure look into propane it is much better for your purpose. That is what we have and live in the country. I would never give up my stove..go for it. I also had to wait many years to get one again and absolutely LOVE IT!!
    You go girl..lol

  12. 13

    Frieda Z says

    Think of the $10 as the base price for gas. I think it is the amount it takes each month to keep your gas on whether you use any or not. Gas stoves really rock. You will love it.

  13. 14


    I’m glad you already heard the propane suggestion, because that’s my suggestion too! Especially if you make the investment to buy the propane tank yourself rather than renting one. Then you can just buy LP from whichever provider will give you the best deal. If you rent a tank, you have to buy gas from the people you rent from.

    I was raised on an electric stove, but my grandma had propane. I loved my grandma, and her high-fat, high-salt, high-everything-good cooking, so to me, the smell of a propane stove being lit equals good things comin’. :o)

    Here’s my 1930s gas stove (currently running on propane, could be converted to natural gas only we don’t have it around here):


  14. 15


    We were looking at a new fridge with french doors on the top and freezer on the bottom. This means tearing out some cabinets to fit a 21st century fridge into a 1950’s space.

    Now that the van needs repaired……. the fridge is on stand by. It’s always something.

  15. 16

    Linda says

    I understand the electric & gas co. charges the “customer” fees because they aren’t regulated & they can charge what they want. The actual service fees are regulated.

  16. 17


    I miss my gas stove so much. I always burn things on this electric stove, or overcook, or undercook. They’re never right. Of course, it could be the cook ………

    I remember when I was a kid after hurricanes. You know, when you didn’t have electricity for a week sometimes? Well, Mom would strike a match and light that gas stove and cook up supper. When Andrew came through, I didn’t have power for almost two weeks, and I had an electric stove in my new house. I replaced that thing with a gas stove as soon as humanly possible after that episode! But on the flip side, when my brother rebuilt after his house burned down, he took all gas out of it. The gas lines exploded when lightning hit the roof, and that’s what caused the whole house to go up in flames. But you probably don’t need to worry about lightning or about hurricanes where you are. Just cats and deer and other critters!

  17. 18


    I think if you really want the stove you should get the stove. With the way you cook it will make you so much happier. I look at it this way. We pay for cable. Even if the kids never turned on the T.V.(not that that’s ever gonna happen) we still need to pay the cable bill. Cable is also paid in advance! If I never use the internet I still need to pay my internet provider.
    Time is money and think how much time you are saving having six burners. That will more than pay for the $10.00 a month customer fee.

    • 19.1


      YES YES YES! A dual fuel stove is what I would buy for my dream setup. Electric burners suck, Gas ovens suck. Gas burners and and Electric oven equal BLISS!

  18. 20


    What about propane? Our first house used propane for heat, hot water and the stove. There was a giant tank next to the garage and a truck came periodically to fill it.

  19. 21


    The gas company, electric company, telephone company and cell phone all have these types of fees. I hate them but have no choice. I hate it too and would boycot if possible. I don’t have to have a cell phone but all the others I do. I agree with you. I think it is wrong. They tell you it is the cost of doing business.

  20. 22

    Betsy says

    If you’re willing to pay $6,000 for a stove, I don’t see why the fuss about $10 a month. They’re just being honest about it by line-iteming it rather than simply sticking it somewhere else or under another heading. It’s a service charge- I’m pretty sure all utility companies have them.

  21. 23


    I was going to throw out propane too. What about an outdoor gas stove set up? Hooked to a propane tank in some screen enclosure.

    I completely know what you’re talking about electric and the microwave. I grew up on gas stoves all my life, then when I got married it was electric. YUCK! My husband and I spent 5 years longing for gas. Also, our last place had this honking huge 1970s microwave above the stove. I never used the back burners because it was so hard to see and cook in them.

    Our new place? Gas stove baby!!! And no microwave over the stove. I’ve been cooking at an unbelievable rate. Cookies, bread, cinnamon rolls, yogurt… the only downside is the lack of counter space. I basically have 3 feet of counter space to do all my prep work in.

    Hopefully you won’t have to endure it too much longer. 🙂

  22. 24

    Sharlene says

    I have a gas stove, 4 burners with a double oven below. It’s a Maytag and i love it. the gas is such an improvement over the electric that I’d not need the 6 burners. Therefore, not the big remodeling project so when i moved, i took my stove.
    I also checked it all at one time.

    The $10.00 fee is really no big deal. the old saying “cut off your nose to spite you face”. I say it to myself all the time.

  23. 25


    A dedicated cook like you needs a gas stove I think. Sorry about the extra charges…but maybe…if you gave up the Dr. Pepper you wouldn’t miss that extra money. I gave up sweets and chips when groceries went so high and lost 37 lbs. in a year. What does that say about me? Or you could be like my dad said…I’d get something if I would say “I’m worth it!” He’d make me say that. So you are worth it and go for it. We are only on earth one time and you are a COOK! You need the best.

  24. 26


    I just got my gas bill today so I checked it. The back of the bill defines service charge as covering the fixed cost of providing gas, such meter equipment, service line maintenance, meter reading and bill processing.

    The cost of gas, by state law, must be the price of purchased gas plus storage & transportation costs. Each year, I can opt for a annual fixed price for gas. So, if it seems that natural gas is increasing, I can lock in for a year at a certain rate. I did it one year and it was worth it.

    The gas company is in a regulated industry in Oklahoma. So I imagine that this level of detail is either part of the law or a regulation. All this detail was on the gas co’s website, including a scan of the signed rate sheets.

    My 2 cents – get the neat stove – you cook so much you might as well have fun and the equipment you want.

    What I want is to get a NG powered vehicle. While you can get a compressor to fuel at home, there aren’t many stations that are available to the public.

  25. 27

    Angie says

    That is a gorgeous gas cooking range! I assume you have done your research on that brand and model. So, I won’t comment. My beloved GE range is over 20 yrs. old. It actually is converted to propane. Every once in awhile I get the urge to buy a new range, but when I start looking at all those sleek, curvy very modern appearing stainless appliances I just can’t see spending the money unless my old, still sparkling wonderfully adequate almond colored with chrome trim range gives up the ghost! We are bonded!. For one thing, we don’t cook or eat like we used to. There are literally days I never turn on the burners. I do bake chicken, fish and pork in the oven—and occasionally saute things. The only time I give the range a good work out is on the first Sunday of the month which is “Family Dinner Sunday” at our house. All the family, friends of family etc. come for a big old fashioned dinner. Even then it’s mostly oven food with salads and veggies.

    If I were you—and it your kitchen plan sounds splendid! I would buy the new range and do the cabinet shuffle, pay the gas company and don’t wait for the dream move to the country.

    Just enjoy now—Now! I’m in my 60’s and while we may say the young have to have everything now and seem to only live in the moment—and we say that like we blame them—as you get older and perhaps have a few “reality checks” –be it either health related or whatever. Enjoying life in the moment becomes even more important. If you have the funds—do it Judy! You never know when you will move to your dream home in the country. It could be soon, next year—or never if life throws you any unexpected curves. And it can. Enjoy what you can—in this moment in time. I’m very philosophical today, and a lot of the time actually as I reflect on my life. I can’t apologize for that as I find time has a way of making you look at things quite differently.

  26. 28


    Can you do propane instead of natural? We have propane and I love gas…I had electric until I moved to New Hampshire and when we left there and moved to Virginia I said one of my major wants was gas…so we have a 500 gallong tank in the backyard (under ground) and I have gas heat, gas cook, gas hot water and gas dryer…gotta love my gas.

  27. 29


    Go for the gas stove……I waste $10.00 going around the corner…you won’t live forever……I used to cook and cook and after my children have grown and moved away I finally got a gas stove. And now it might even collect dust. (haha) Make your wishes come true.

  28. 30

    carol says

    so get the stove an d hook it up to BUTANE
    no natural gas line charge
    and pay for what you use

    i have never understood WHY the microwaves are above a stove-sheesh-heat rises