LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Customers in the Metro area say they’re frustrated after they received an abnormally high gas bill from a Little Rock utilities company.
Heading into winter, a higher gas bill is expected but customers say this increase took them by surprise.
“Having a bill that high unexpectedly, it kind of threw us off,” Ali Pliler-Lopez said.
Pliler-Lopez lives with her mom and two young children, budgeting where they can.
She said she’s used to paying anywhere from $60-$100 a month on her gas bill. This month, her bill was $300.
“For it to skyrocket six times over, it’s ridiculous,” Pliler-Lopez said.
Others have voiced concerns over the same thing, gas bills going from $35 to more than $200.
“It seems like Summit is just being money-hungry,” Pliler-Lopez said.
In the last year, Summit Utilities acquired CenterPoint Energy’s assets in Arkansas and with that, its customers.
KARK 4 News reached out to Summit Utilities for comment. Lizzy Reinholt, Senior V.P. of Corporate Affairs and Marketing, commented on how high natural gas rates have become.
“These are some of the highest rates we’ve seen in years,” Reinholt said.
Summit Utilities said that the gas rates are set each year in November and this season came with a big price tag.
“Customers this Winter will be paying about 31 cents more per CCF than they did last Winter,” Reinholt said.
The company said the increase is driven by a combination of conflict in Ukraine and low production.
“We don’t make money off of the cost of gas. That’s the gas supply rate on customer bills,” Reinholt said.
With other increases in food and fuel, customers worry this is just one more bill that could break the bank.
“We’re already broke enough from Thanksgiving and bills,” Pliler-Lopez said. “An extra $300 having to be pulled out of nowhere, it’s like what are we going to do?”
Summit said they are encouraging customers to move to an average billing plan which spreads out those high payments over the course of the year. They also said that turning fans counterclockwise and lowering the thermostat while out of the house can help lower costs.