Two More Community Discussion Sessions for Gas Rate Review
By Cassie McClure
Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) and its Utility Customer Advisory Group (UCAG) will be offering two more Community Discussion sessions for residents to express their opinion on the gas rate review. UCAG, with the help of the public input, informs the LCU Board of Commissioners (Board), which then submits its recommendation to the City Council.
Residents have until July 31, 2021, to provide input on the gas rate review options but can attend one of two in-person meetings. The meeting will have a presentation by UCAG based on the information given by Stantec Consulting. This consultant evaluated current gas rates, examined revenue requirements and the cost of providing services.
The meetings will be held:
- Tuesday, July 20, 2021, at 5:30 p.m., at LCU Board Room 225, 680 N. Motel Blvd
- Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at 5:30 p.m., at City Hall Council Chambers, 700 N. Main Street
To examine all documents associated with the rate review process, residents can go to https://www.las-cruces.org/2065/Utility-Customer-Advisory-Group-UCAG
“We invite the public to come, ask questions, and get familiar with what makes up the gas rates in Las Cruces,” said Jose Provencio, LCU Deputy Director Business Services. “The feedback that they give to the UCAG allows them to make informed decisions on what would be best for residents and businesses.”
LCU is a department of the City of Las Cruces but is not funded by tax dollars. It has been ten years since LCU last reviewed the natural gas rate charges. The current gas rate review reflects cost increases in construction, materials, and supply costs arising from normal employee turnover and training, wages and benefits, gas system maintenance and safety compliance, vehicle and equipment maintenance and replacement, and an increase of $934,601.00 in new annualized debt for gas development.
The three rate options under consideration are:
1). A full cost implementation of new rates in one year;
2). A limited phased-in cost increase for the two most impacted customer classes (small and large commercial) over three years; or
3). A full phased-in cost increase for all customer classes over three years.
The facts about gas rate review:
• LCU must increase overall revenue by $2.4 million annually. The last gas rate increase was in 2011.
• The average residential monthly gas bill today is $26.87, including the access charge. A full-cost increase would see the average residential bill go to $29.33.
• The average small commercial monthly gas bill today is $75.15, including the access charge. A full-cost increase would see the average small commercial bill go to $107.24.
LCU Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.