MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) After complaints from customers, the Alabama Public Service Commission is investigating why Mobile Gas rates are among the highest in the nation.
"My gas bill is $164 dollars a month and I want to know why," Mobile resident Julia Cunningham said at a public hearing hosted by the PSC on Monday.
A number of customers got up to the podium at the hearing, and said they couldn't understand why rates were so much higher than in other cities like Biloxi.
"Mobile Gas has been known as the third most expensive gas company in the United States," Mobile Gas customer Kerry Mizzey said. "I have yet to figure out why Mobile is 60 to 65 percent more expensive than Biloxi, Shreveport."
It was the first public hearing held by the PSC in Mobile since the 1990's, and some customers expressed doubts about the commission's commitment.
"You are not there for the people," Mizzey said. "[You] put on a good show, [you] come to Mobile...but we're paying extreme amounts for gas, and nobody does anything."
Newly-elected PSC president Twinkle Cavanaugh assured her "brand new" commission will make it a point to involve the public as much as possible and thoroughly review utilities companies.
"That is why we are here today," Cavanaugh said. "This is a new commission. What I promise you is that we will look at every rate and return of every company we regulate."
Mobile Gas officials were at the hearing and told the crowd there were a number of reasons the rates were higher than comparable municipalities. One reason was because Mobile Gas is one of the oldest gas utility companies in the nation, and they are having to maintain and replace aging infrastructure.
The PSC said they are in the "investigative stage" right now, and hope to complete their review of Mobile Gas by mid-Summer 2013 to determine whether the rates are permissible or if they should be lowered.