NM Gas Co. asks regulators to OK rate hike - Albuquerque Journal

NM Gas Co. asks regulators to OK rate hike

New Mexico Gas Co. has asked the Public Regulation Commission to approve a rate increase in 2023 to recoup planned investments and increasing operating costs, the utility announced Monday.

If approved, the increase would generate about $40.7 million in additional revenue for the company, pushing average residential bills up by $5.63 per month, or 9.1%, according to the company. The additional income would pay for investments in the utility’s pipeline network, cybersecurity programs, infrastructure maintenance and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other things.

“Our objective is to serve our customers safely, reliably and efficiently,” utility president Ryan Shell said in a statement. “Meeting this objective requires ongoing investments to maintain our natural gas delivery systems and related infrastructure.”

The request will trigger public hearings next year, followed by a PRC vote on the issue in the second half of 2022.

This is the gas company’s third rate request since 2018, although prior to that, the company had no rate increases since 2012.

In the company’s last rate case in 2019, it requested a 4.2% increase on monthly bills, but the PRC only approved a 1.4% hike.

In June, the PRC also approved a temporary, 30-month rate hike to allow the company to recover costs associated with last February’s deep winter freeze.

Shell said the currently company has among the lowest rates for natural gas utilities in the region, but it recognizes that higher rates may be challenging for some customers.

“We will continue to work with customers who need help with payment options or assistance programs,” he said.

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