Southwest Gas "Weather Charge"; customers cry foul

Last month was a warm February in the valley, so a lot of Southwest Gas customers did not need to use their gas heaters.

So how does the utility deal with that loss of revenue? It's called the energy efficiency weather adjustment, and if you're a Southwest Gas customer, you're paying for it.

It shows up on your bill as an EEP Weather Adjustment charge on a customers bill from November to April.

"It's not fair, and it's not fair at all," said Vicky Burton.

Burton loves cooking with gas, has a gas dryer, and gas heat as well.

She says she didn't notice the EEP Weather Adjustment until we pointed it out. 

"It is $15.47 extra," she said.

All added to her bill because she used less gas in February because it was a very warm month. Burton and hundreds or thousands of others used less gas for heat in the valley.

When that happens the revenue stream for the gas company plummets in the winter, hence the surcharge.

"So when gas use is less than average it will help keep things stable for the company, however for the customer they see an upward adjustment or see a downward adjustment when they use an increased amount of gas. So it's a balancing type mechanism," said Amy Washburn with Southwest Gas.

Not every customer likes this "balancing mechanism."

"Nobody would pay a restaurant tab with that on it, they say we had a slow month last month, so we're adding this tax on to every bill this month, they would lose customers, but because you don't have a choice on your gas company you have to take it on the chin, it's not fair," said Lori Clendenin.

Even with this energy efficiency provision, customer bills are significantly less than what the Corporation Commission has approved us to charge," said Washburn.
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