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Nevadans can expect an even higher gas bill in April

Updated March 9, 2023 - 5:26 pm

Natural gas will be even more expensive for Nevadans starting next month, after Southwest Gas filed plans to again raise customer rates — this time by nearly 20 percent.

The utility aims to increase rates starting April 1 by an average of 17.7 percent in Southern Nevada and 18.9 percent in Northern Nevada, according to a filing with the Public Utilities Commission. The company filed their rate adjustment plan Feb. 24, but it was not made public until Thursday because the PUC said it was still processing the filing.

The rate increases would bring an additional $142.9 million in revenue for Southwest Gas, with $113.1 million from Southern Nevada and $29.8 million from Northern Nevada.

Southwest Gas spokeswoman Amy Washburn said it does not incur a profit from the increases, and that it is based on a 12-month rolling average for incurred natural gas costs. She said using this 12-month rolling average helps protect customers against large price fluctuations in gas costs.

“The company’s gas cost rate will not immediately reflect changes (either increases or decreases) in the cost of gas the company procures on behalf of its customers,” Washburn said in an emailed statement.

“The requested gas cost rate adjustment to be effective April 1, 2023 contemplates gas costs the company incurred for gas procured on behalf of its customers for the twelve month period ending December 2022.”

It’s the third consecutive quarter that Southwest Gas implemented rate increases in Nevada, but the hikes starting April 1 mark the utility’s largest increase. October ushered in an 8 percent hike and on Jan. 1, customers saw an average increase of 5.2 percent.

These rate increases also come in the midst of Southwest Gas pursuing a separate annual rate increase that would add $2.77 to the average single-family home in Southern Nevada.

Southwest Gas has said the rate increases are due to higher fuel purchase costs, and that there’s been an increase in demand for natural gas both domestically and internationally as a result of global events, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

January inflation data from the Consumer Price Index showed utility gas prices increased 26.7 percent year-over-year, and prices jumped by 6.7 percent from January to December.

Southern Nevada rates

■ Single-family residential ratepayers should expect an increase of 16.4 percent, or $10.49, to their their monthly bill.

■ Multifamily residential ratepayers should expect an increase of 14.7 percent to their monthly bill, an additional $5.61.

Overall, the rate adjustments will increase the price of a therm, the unit of measurement for natural gas, for Southern Nevadans by about 22 cents.

The looming rate increases come after a rate hike was implemented on Jan. 1, when single-family residential customers had an estimated increase of 4.8 percent, or $2.76, to their monthly bill. Multifamily residential customers saw an estimated increase of 4.3 percent, or $1.52, per month.

Meanwhile, residents already experienced an increase starting on Oct. 1. At the time, single-family residential customers had an estimated increase of 7.3 percent, or $3.94, to their monthly bill, and the monthly bill of multifamily residential customers rose 6.5 percent, or $2.16.

Northern Nevada rates

■ Single-family residential ratepayers can expect their monthly bill to increase by 17.6 percent, or $18.24.

■ Multifamily residential ratepayers should expect an increase of 16 percent, which would add $10.04 to their monthly bill.

The rate adjustments will increase the price of a therm for Northern Nevada ratepayers by an estimated 29 cents.

Starting Jan. 1, Northern Nevadans experienced an estimated increase of 3.7 percent, or $3.51, to their monthly bill. Multifamily residential customers saw an increase of 3.3 percent, or $1.94.

The higher price follows a previous quarterly rate hike that kicked in Oct. 1, with single-family residential customers seeing a 6.8 percent increase, or $6.09, and multifamily residential customers facing a 6.1 percent hike, or $3.34, to their monthly bill.

Southwest Gas isn’t the only utility increasing prices next month. NV Energy filed its quarterly rate adjustment with the PUC last month to raise its rates. Southern Nevadans will see an average increase of 1.54 percent starting April 1. Residents of Northern Nevada can expect an average rate increase of 6.41 percent.

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on Twitter.

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