Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Gas Bills About To Double.

Byline: Tom McGhee Journal Staff Writer

Utility Aims To Avoid Heat With Publicity

Get ready. If you haven't heard, heating bills for natural gas are about to at least double.

The state's largest utility, the Public Service Company of New Mexico, is launching a special Web site and a $200,000 advertising campaign to prepare customers for the budget-busting natural gas bills.

Starting in early October and throughout the month, the utility will run newspaper and radio ads in about 20 communities in the state where PNM supplies natural gas.

The company expects gas bills to be twice as high as they were last winter if the weather is as mild as it was then. If temperatures are consistently more frosty, bills will soar even higher.

The utility doesn't want to jar customers as it has in the past. "We can't control the price of gas, just the shock by educating people beforehand," said PNM spokesman Don Brown.

A classic economic equation is behind the sharp rise in prices. Demand is high, primarily because more natural-gas-fired electric generating plants are coming on line. …

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