County: Two Public Hearings Scheduled On Proposed Gas Rate Increases

COUNTY NEWS RELEASE

The Department of Public Utilities is proposing gas rate increases spanning the next four years. Two public hearings for the rate changes are planned. The first public hearing will take place at the July 20 Board of Public Utilities meeting. If the BPU approves the rate ordinance, a second hearing will be held on Aug. 30, at the Los Alamos County Council meeting. The rates must be adopted by the County Council before they can be put in place.

The proposed increases are intended to generate revenues needed for current operations and to build cash reserves necessary for future infrastructure needs. Large increases to costs due to inflation and supply chain shortages have negatively impacted current gas fund balances. If approved by Council, the first increase will take effect on Oct. 1, with subsequent increases following on October 1 annually.

The gas rate schedule has been unaltered since 2016 when the fixed commodity rate was decreased from $0.29/therm to $0.23/therm. Prior to that, the fixed commodity rate was decreased from $0.55/therm in 2013. A variable component based on actual cost of gas, also known as the pass-through rate, is added to the fixed commodity rate each month. Gas service charges have not been changed since 2009.