NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Just cooking dinner nowadays gets some Atmos gas customers steamed.
"It was that month and then the next month, I got another one," said Isabella Canales of DeSoto of her escalating bills.
Her family's monthly gas bill jumped from about $40 a month, to more than $200. "What in the hell?!"-- is the reaction that she knows speaks for so many.
"Atmos came out... said everything looks correct and there's no leak," said Canales. "I told my husband 'what do we do?' This is summertime! Can you see what our bills are going to be in the winter?"
It is a realistic worry for Canales and her growing family. Atmos has already sent an email warning of more price hikes in the months ahead.
"Also. Natural gas sets the price of electricity in Texas," said Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute SMU Cox School of Business. "So, if you're renewing your electricity plan--plus you're getting hit with increased natural gas costs--you're going to get hit with a double whammy."
Bullock said everything from the COVID pandemic to a lack of capital investment to the war in Ukraine are fueling energy inflation here at home. And every indication is that it will remain. He urges consumers to take advantage of opportunities in the new climate bill to make homes more energy efficient.
"So, when those start to get rolled out, that'll be a good thing for consumers," says Bullock. "Until then, about all you can do is use your thermostat wisely."
As for Canales, she's not sure of any other places to trim the family budget.
"Looks like we'll be taking cold baths from now on because this is insane!" And then adding, "I don't know how people are surviving, I really don't."
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