February 6, 2023

Earlier this year, people started receiving their monthly expenses as usual, but found that the prices were anything but normal.

The company has seen a 36% increase in the cost of gas purchased on behalf of customers since September 2021, according to a release from the New Mexico Gas Company last year.

“We don’t make a profit on the gas we buy for our customers. Our company paid for the purchase of this gas and then we were authorized to reimburse the extraordinary gas costs from July 2021,” the statement said.

NMGC said part of the monthly bill would include reimbursement for those expenses.

“We are doing everything we can to buy gas at the lowest available price and you pay what we pay, no more no less,” it said.

But even with termination, some are having trouble keeping up with the bills.

Mariposa’s Belinda Sandoval is surprised by the raise.

“Our gas bill went from $85 to $128. That’s $43 higher. According to the Gas Co, the increase should be about $4 per household. I realize we are now outsourcing our gas, but why so high? We turned our thermostat down. I guess I’ll just wear a sweater inside,” she said.

As Rio Rancho residents grapple with rising utility bills, others are finding innovative ways to save money.

Karl Luedemann, a North Hills resident, says he uses electric heating, which is cheaper than gas right now.

“I’ve been running an electric heater since my last gas bill as a cheaper addition to my old gas stove,” he said.

PNM Electric also requested a rate increase in December but estimates a minimal increase of about 75 cents a month through 2024.

Ron Darnell, senior vice president of public policy, said the tariff increase PNM is asking for will be “significantly offset” by the savings from the closure of the San Juan Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant west of Farmington, a decision PNM made in managing the transition to renewables energies.

“It doesn’t include other items on your bill, including what customers pay for fuel,” he said.

However, people who haven’t updated their meter for a while are advised to do so as it may result in erroneous readings.

Here is a shortcut how to read your meter from PNM.

PNM states that the price increase is part of the clean energy transition, which a urge many companies do in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Gas Company has some suggestions for gas consumers to reduce costs.

How to minimize energy costs in the colder months:

  • Turn down your thermostat.
  • Use the free Home Energy Analyzer for recommendations that could help save hundreds of dollars on energy efficiency measures: nmgc.energysavvy.com
  • Weather your home to save energy, money and improve your comfort.
  • Clean or replace filters on your oven.
  • Clean warm air registers, air vents, baseboard heaters and radiators. Make sure they aren’t blocked by furniture, rugs, or curtains.
  • During the day, open curtains and blinds on your south-facing windows to let in warm sunlight. Close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.

NMGC also shared some utilities that could help with pricing:

  • LIHEAP is a New Mexico Human Services Department housing assistance program that provides winter heating assistance to income-eligible clients: www.nmgco.com/en/low_income_assistance
  • The Salvation Army administers NMGCs HEAT New Mexico fund. It is available to income-entitled private customers to settle heating costs in winter: www.nmgco.com/en/HEAT_For_Help
  • the NM Home Fund offers rental, mortgage, and utility assistance through the state of New Mexico: nmhomefund.org
  • The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority administers Energy$martan energy efficiency program for eligible customers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce utility bills: www.housingnm.org/home-repair-and-energy-efficiency/energymart-weatherization-assistance

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