February Cold Weather Gas Costs and Proposed Bill Impacts
To our customers,
Cold weather throughout the region in February 2021 created market conditions that forced New Mexico Gas Company to pay substantially higher than normal prices for the natural gas we delivered to our customers.
To put this in perspective, during the week of February 13 to 18, 2021, the price of natural gas charged to NMGC -- and other utilities in this region -- rose from approximately $3 per MMbtu to anywhere from $100 to as much as $250 per MMbtu. These extraordinary market conditions and prices were unprecedented. We paid as much for natural gas during this one week in February as we paid for gas in all of 2020. These conditions also affected most other utilities throughout the region who purchase natural gas for their customers.
By rule, NMGC passes the cost of gas on to its customers without markup. Because we pass the cost of gas directly to you, our customer, we want to take this opportunity to keep you informed about how the February cold temperatures and extraordinary high costs for gas will impact your bills.
Normally, we would have begun to pass on these gas costs in your March or April 2021 bill. Instead, on April 19, 2021, in an effort to minimize the effect of these extraordinary prices on our customers, we filed an application with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission seeking recovery of the gas costs over a longer period of time.
On June 15, 2021, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved our request to minimize the impact to your monthly bill by spreading the recovery of these costs through the end of December 2023. The recovery of these costs will be included in the “Cost of Gas” charges on your bill starting this summer.
- Residential customers - To even out the impact to your bill the monthly cost of gas will be adjusted seasonally to level the impact on your monthly bill. The impact on both the average summer and winter bill is about $5.40 per month.
- Irrigation customers - Irrigation customers will see an increase in their gas costs of 1.8 cents per therm for the next 30 months.
- All other non-residential customers - The increase to the cost of gas will be 10.26 cents per therm.
Even with our best efforts to minimize this impact, we recognize this could have a significant impact on you, so we are taking additional steps to help alleviate the impact from these costs as well as the impacts that the Coronavirus pandemic has had on us all. We stand ready to help our customers manage their bills. We are committed to working with customers who need assistance to establish payment plans to help them catch up.
Also, to further help customers, our payment centers reopened May 3 to take payments and to personally assist our customers.
Earlier this year, we established a $1.2 million fund to assist income-qualifying residential customers and small business owners who have fallen behind on their natural gas bills because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Residential customers can apply for help through New Mexico Gas Company’s HEAT New Mexico program. Qualified residential customers will receive a one-time payment of $150 toward their New Mexico Gas Company bill and can enter into payments arrangements if necessary for any remaining balance.
- Small business owners can apply online. Those who qualify will be eligible for a one-time credit of up to $250.
Again, if you have questions please call us at 1-888-664-2726.