NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexicans have seen unusually high gas bills this winter. The New Mexico Gas Company went before the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) on Wednesday, Mar. 1, to explain why customers saw skyrocketing heating bills this winter. The company also discussed when people should start seeing some relief.
Gerald Weseen, Vice President of the New Mexico Gas Company’s Regulatory, Strategy, and External Affairs, said, “we serve about 1.2 million New Mexicans who count on us to heat their homes and businesses.” The New Mexico Gas Company is responsible for providing service across 27 counties throughout the state.
Leaders with the gas company went before the state’s PRC to explain why gas bills have spiked this year. The company’s Vice President of Engineering, Gas Management, and Technical Services, Tom Bullard, explained, “prices are up generally for the past year in the United States and around the world driven by supply and demand market factors.”
There was a rate increase that impacted customers’ bills by an average of $5 per month. The war on Ukraine has significantly increased market prices as Russia reduced natural gas exports to Europe. “It disrupted gas prices in Europe in Asia somewhat and that drove up the LNG market so much of the gas here in this area was going to LNG and that drove up prices just kind of generally,” said Bullard.
Poor timing of the huge winter storm that hit much of the U.S. in January is another reason for soaring gas bills. “It happened to coincide with bid week which is the week before the first of the month and so that really increased prices significantly for that week,” said Bullard.
Commissioners asked the gas company when customers can expect relief from pricey bills. Bullard told them, “it should come down in this month’s bills and then next month’s bills we’ll see a significant decrease.”
The New Mexico Gas Company explained it has taken steps to address high natural gas prices through its hedging program, buying in advance. The utility says that resulted in $100 million in savings in January.