DEMING, N.M. (KRQE) – Natural gas is essential for New Mexicans. From cooking to drying laundry, hot showers, and warming the home. Now, people in Deming are feeling they have to cut back on all of those essentials.
“Do you know how many people are going to be upset? We’re complaining about the price of gasoline for cars, now gas for the house for heat,” said an anonymous Deming resident. “How are we supposed to survive?”
The anonymous resident gets her utilities through the city. Last month her gas bill was just over $98. When she got her bill Monday, she saw a whopping $356.32.
The city of Deming gets its gas from the San Juan Basin. Deming City Administrator Aaron Sera said the gas provider blames the increase on supply issues. In December, the city told its customers, because of a 70% increase in natural gas prices from November, they would send out a $20 rebate for each bill from January to March, for the roughly 6,000 customers impacted.
“It seems like a drop in a bucket when the price goes up 350% and that happened to be a $380,000 hit to the gas budget,” added Sera. “It’s going to be difficult to recover from this but we’re going to do everything that we can to help this community.”
Sera mentioned they are negotiating with the company that orders the gas, Symmetry Energy Solutions. The company has agreed that they would sell the city gas at a different price if they lock in a price for four years. The city also turned to the state for help. Leaders are meeting this week to come up with a plan for both immediate and long-term relief.
As of right now, the city is not requiring customers to pay their bills upfront. However, they do need to pay it by April.
The city of Deming hopes prices will level off, but that depends on whether they reach an agreement with Symmetry Energy Solutions. The company has until January 31 to agree to the terms.