Keeping warm in the winter, having hot water and, for some, cooking might cost a bit more next year if the New Mexico Gas Company has its way.
The natural gas provider announced earlier this month that it applied for a consumer rate increase with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission. If approved, the company said in a news release, customers could see their bills increase by about 11% next October, noting that “an average residential bill would go up by about $6.70 a month,” but that “The actual change will depend on each customer’s specific usage.”
The gas company justified the increase in the news release by noting “increasing federal and state regulations regarding pipeline safety and operations,” and the cost of updating customer billing software and “retaining and attracting a skilled workforce” to serve customers.
“While we understand that any rate increase is challenging, we believe this is needed to meet our obligation for safely providing reliable natural gas service to New Mexicans,” the company’s announcement reads.
As with any public utility in the state, the Public Regulation Commission has to approve the increase.
PRC Chief of Staff Cholla Khoury confirmed that the gas company asked for a rate increase and that there will be a public process for approval, but specifics are still a bit murky.
“The PRC will carefully look at the request, collect opinions and evidence from experts and parties other than the NMGC and make a decision,” Khoury said. “In the next month, the PRC will define the process for considering the request, including how long the process is likely to take and provide a process to hear from the public.”
Khoury added that rate increases are usually decided on within nine to 12 months.