When Henderson resident Karen Winterbottom checked her December bill from Southwest Gas, she was shocked to see the price had more than tripled compared to what she was charged just two months prior.
She said the utility charged her $244 for gas use in December, compared to $154 the month prior and just $71 in October.
“Most of my house is electric,” she said in an email. “I used the gas fireplace once or twice for very limited periods of time. Otherwise, the gas usage was the same.”
Winterbottom wasn’t alone. She saw hundreds of users post about their abnormally-high gas bills on the neighborhood social media app Nextdoor.
According to Southwest Gas spokesman Sean Corbett, rising gas costs and winter weather conditions had caused customers to see these dramatic price increases.
“When the weather gets cold, natural gas furnaces in our customers’ homes are working overtime,” he said. “(This) can increase the amount of gas that’s used by our customers.”
Additionally, Corbett said the utility’s supplier had increased the cost of the natural gas Southwest Gas delivers to customers.
“We do not profit from this increase,” Corbett said. “Our customers pay what we pay.”
He noted that the company informed customers of this rate change through quarterly bill inserts, which are also on the company’s website and mobile app.
According to documents from Southwest Gas and a November filing with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, Southwest Gas’ adjusted rates went into effect the first of the year, after the cost of gas in Southern Nevada went up $0.02517 per therm. In turn, the total annualized revenue for Southwest Gas in Southern Nevada went up 2.6 percent to nearly $454 million.
The last time the PUC approved a change in Southwest Gas’ general rates was in February 2019, when the statewide annual general rate increased about $32.5 million, according to PUC filings.
Southwest Gas Holdings’ shares dropped 0.3 percent Wednesday to $77.41.