Hearing July 26 on Southwest Gas rate hike

A consumer session is scheduled for July 26 on an application by Southwest Gas to raise rates.

The majority of the proposed increase would be to Southern Nevada customers - 8.17 percent for single-family residences. While the south makes up the vast majority of SWG's customer base, the utility also provides natural gas service in the Carson City area.

The requested increase in Northern Nevada would amount to 1.39 percent for residential customers. That would add just over a dollar to the average monthly bill, raising it to $78.51 and generating about $1.5 million in added revenue each year.

The increase in the south is much more dramatic, designed to raise $25.4 million more overall.

The rates and increases are different for commercial, multi-family residential and other categories of customer.

Southwest officials said in their Public Utilities Commission filing that the raise is needed because existing rates "do not provide SWG with sufficient revenue to allow it a fair and reasonable return on its investment."

The utility blamed increasing costs of capital; increased expenses including wages, benefits and inflation; and changes in the number of customers and usage. The utility is seeking a rate of return on equity of 10.65 percent.

The consumer session will begin at 6 p.m. July 26 in PUC Hearing Room A at the PUC offices, 1150 E. William St. in Carson City. That will give people an opportunity to learn more about the proposed rate hikes and other elements of the proposals as well as comment on the application.

Individual comments may be limited to five minutes apiece.


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