Concerns raised over more expensive gas bills in New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Increased New Mexico Gas bills are causing thousands of customers to do a double-take this month.

Chas Alonen is a “budget bill” customer. “They take an average of what your bill is per month, and they just do a running total and charge you for that amount,” he said.

But Alonen’s September gas bill is not helping his budget. Last month, he had to pay $74. This month, he owes $115. He said the bill came with a letter from the company, explaining why some customers will see increases of more than 50%.

“Just because with everything going up in price, of course, gas and food, and then this cost of living in general,” he said. “$40 is something we have to budget, you know—this is a middle working class family, it’s a lot of money.”

KOB received dozens of responses from viewers on Facebook and Twitter saying their New Mexico Gas bills also “drastically increased,” and now they too are in a tough spot financially.

KOB also received a response from the company. A representative of New Mexico Gas said 51,000, or just under 10% of their customers, are on budget billing. 85% of those customers are receiving increased bills. The representative also attributed the increase to a 36% rise in the cost of natural gas since September 2021.

New Mexico Gas Company further explained its position in the following statement:

“By rule, New Mexico Gas Company passes the cost of gas to its customers without markup. We don’t make any profit on the gas we purchase for our customers. We run a midyear review every year in February and then we send a recommendation to any budget bill customer who might be trending toward an increase. This allows the customer, if they choose to do so, to increase the amount at that time to minimize any later impact. We encourage our customers to monitor the amount so they are aware when there is a change on their account.”

The company also offered the following advice for those struggling with a higher monthly bill.

“We are committed to working with customers to establish payment plans to help them catch up if necessary if they fall behind. Our 22 payment centers are open around the state to take payments and to assist our customers. Or call us at 1-888-664-2726. Residential customers in need 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 payment arrangements if necessary for any remaining balance.”