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Foothills and Northwest neighbors worried about Southwest Gas raising prices

Southwest Gas prices
Posted at 10:17 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-15 00:17:39-05

CATALINA FOOTHILLS, Ariz. (KGUN) — Shuffling from bill to bill, Renee Beko was worried about her recent Southwest Gas bills. Beko lives on the Northside of Tucson and lives off social security.

“You have to watch your money because it only goes so far,” she said.

Her bill in January was about 88 dollars and in February her bill skyrocketed to about 149 dollars. That means she has to tighten her budget and watch her finances even closer.

“It makes a lot of difference. You don’t always make it, make it like you want to by the end of the month and I’m sure other people have the same problem who aren’t on social security,” she said. “I don’t think I really use that much gas.”

However, she said Southwest Gas did not tell her about the increase, saying she did not get any warnings or letters.

Southwest Gas said starting in February 2023 they told customers about the delivery charge increase. They said throughout 2023 they also put a notice on their bills about the higher gas costs and gave customers tips on how to save energy.

Dennis Newman, who lives in the Foothills, is also seeing higher prices.

“It was so bad that I thought I had a gas leak!” Newman remarked.

Southwest Gas said the gas cost rate went up by 32 cents per therm over the last year because of high inflation.

“15 dollars higher than it was a year ago, but the weird thing is, is when I’m looking at this bill, I’ve used less gas,” he said.

Starting in January 2023, Southwest Gas said people who are using 35 therms, their measurement unit, saw about a seven dollar increase on average. It was a rate hike approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

KGUN9 News reporter Andrew Christiansen reached out to the Arizona Corporation Commission but did not hear back.

Southwest Gas said a customer’s bill is based on them having to buy natural gas and pay back investments into it. They said it’s also based on them buying natural gas infrastructure and for operations and their service.

Southwest Gas said they have a few options to help manage their utility bills. One of those is a program for people who have a low income and they can get a 30 percent discount per therm. They also have a deferred payment plan and emergency assistance programs.

“Why didn’t somebody ring the alarm bell and give us a warning so that we could do something to cut our usage?” Newman, who said they didn’t give him a notification, said.

Newman, along with Beko is hoping Southwest Gas considers that inflation has also had an impact on them.

“Start to think of the customer instead of the business,” Newman said while Beko said, “They need to think of us poor people on social security.”

Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.