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Letters – Reader asks City to review TGS increase

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Honorable Mayor:
During May 2008, I corresponded with you regarding the 300-percent increase in the residential customer service charge being charged by Texas Gas Service. The initial billing insert indicated Texas Gas Service received approval from the cities of Lockhart, Luling, Gonzales, Cuero, Shiner Yoakum and Nixon to implement this increase. During May I asked t

hat our city council revisit this issue in view of the hardship this customer service charge has placed on the elderly (especially those living on a fixed income) as well as the few remaining local businesses that received an even larger increase.
Subsequent conversations with several city councilmen revealed that the Lockhart City Council did not approve this increase and that legal counsel was consulted regarding a potential lawsuit to prevent this increase from being implemented. Please be advised this fee has appeared on my residential and business bills for the months of May, June and July 2008 ($40 per month). It is the largest item on each of my bills, more than twice that of the cost of the natural gas! The gas service company indicates no intention of removing this fee or reducing its impact.
Recent literature obtained from the gas company indicates they asked the Lockhart city council for approval, it was reviewed by the Railroad Commission amended and finalized on April 24, 2008.
When was a public hearing held regarding this 300-percent increase? When were citizen comments allowed?
The consumer examples provided in recent Texas Gas Service Company literature reveals an average increase of 102.25-percent. A gallon of gas increased 205 percent since 1992! Notably absent is the consumer price increase in the cost of our gas service.
Before the increase became effective on May 1, 2008 our gas service company bills had increased 367 percent since 1992. After the implementation of the 300-percent customer service charge our gas service bill has increased 668 percent since 1992!
And we thought the cost of a gallon of gasoline at $3.45, up 205 percent was extremely high! At the current $3.70 per gallon cost of gasoline the increase since 1992 is 227 percent.
Since I never received a response from your office, let me ask you what, if anything, is being done about this exorbitant increase in the customer service charge by the Texas Gas Service Company? Why do the utility customers of Lockhart have no voice in this increase? Where is the justification or need for such a large increase? How will social security retirees afford such an increase when the annual increase in SSA benefits normally do not exceed 3 or 4 percent?
Thank you for your time and attention to this important cost of living matter.
William R. Cline
Lockhart

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