The same week New Mexico’s first propane regulations go into effect, the state’s Public Regulation Commission (PRC) will hold a public hearing on the new rules, the New Mexican newspaper reported yesterday.
As Propane.pro reported on December 6, the PRC drafted the new rules in November, responding to consumer requests for more oversight of their propane bills. Supporters said the regulations added some much-needed transparency to propane prices.
Dealers believe the new rules will be costly and end up making fuel more expensive for end users. They also emphasize they already meet standards from federal agencies and insurance companies.
Propane is not a regulated fuel (like natural gas or electricity), and rate hikes are not negotiated and monitored by a government panel. With propane, consumers can bargain, and dealers are free to set their own prices. Variations in price exist from dealer to dealer, and between low and high-volume users.
The lobbying arm of the propane industry, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA), argues that the business does not resemble public service companies. The NPGA draws parallels to heating oil, coal, and similar fuels that also fall outside of regulators’ control.