LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Customers gathered outside the Southwest Gas building on Monday morning to protest high rates on their gas bills.

The protest comes as gas prices continue to steadily increase, a move the company defends as a result of the rising prices of natural gas. As dozens of protestors gathered outside the building, the offices remained closed in observance of President’s Day.

Deborah Gaeding, a resident of Summerlin, organized the protest. “I’m here with other homeowners that feel the way I do. We want to be part of the solution [against] gouging and rate increases by either the gas or electric companies.”

Gaeding told FOX5 that she feels there are many solutions to the rising rates, including providing consumers with guidelines on how to decrease their bills and what she describes as a “marketing write-off.”

She explains, “If a consumer said their bill went up more than 25% the following month, [SW Gas] should offer them a solution – and part of that can be a portable plug-in heater that heats up a room… or a portable fan…”

Currently, Southwest Gas offers multiple payment assistance programs, including an Energy Assistance Program, a Weatherization Assistance Program, and a Deferred Payment Program. However, Gaeding, along with other protestors, is calling for Southwest Gas to propose “reasonable rates,” since those on payments plans seem to still be struggling with sharp rate increases.

“We don’t expect anything to anything to go down, and we don’t expect increases,” she said. “We want a reasonable rate increase.”

She adds, “It doesn’t make sense for people on an equal payment plan to go from $66 and then to jump up, with credits included, to $198.”

In response to the protest, Southwest Gas released the following statement:

“Southwest Gas values and appreciates our customers’ feedback and we have been working diligently to enhance our communication efforts regarding frustrations that have been expressed about winter bills this year. We have created a new webpage that answers our customer’s most frequently asked questions and provides transparent and robust information regarding how bills are calculated and how usage, cooler weather, and market prices for natural gas can all contribute to the differences customers may see in their bill month-to-month or year-to-year. This information can be found at:”

The Public Utilities Commission will hold a hearing to discuss the rate increase on Monday, Feb. 26.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *