MLGW to issue refunds on gas purchase

The way MLGW explains it, the utility was saving customers money by charging them for natural gas before they used it.

A spokesperson told us, "There'll be some savings to our customers of $10 million from being able to buy from one region or the other."

Basically, MLGW wanted to buy its gas in the Summer when it's cheap, store it, then use it in the winter when gas is most expensive.

MLGW had several options to get the money for the natural gas such as pre-collecting from customers, getting a line of credit from a bank or borrowing from another division of MLGW.

The utility chose the first option, so customers have been charged for gas before they use it.  Their bills would supposedly then be lower this coming winter.

The decision was made without MLGW Board or City Council authorization, which was NOT required.

But some city council members, such as Barbara Swearengen Ware, feel the process was underhanded, "It's unfortunate you have to sit at this table and and admit you've taken money from customers that you were not authorized to take."

MLGW was already planning to credit customer bills anywhere from a few dollars to $50 right now.

But council members, including Ware, want that sent as a check so people can clearly see what they're getting.  "Just like I couldn't calculate that you over-charged me, I can't calculate a credit," she said.

The refund, whether in a bill credit or check, should arrive by July.


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