Altamont residents see 21,000% increase in cost of natural gas

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ALTAMONT, Ks. — Colder temperatures may soon be gone – but increased prices of natural gas due to the weather, are wreaking havoc for some.

It’s been a scary time for the city during these past two weeks. During this time they had dealt with prices almost 21,000% more than what they would usually be. At one point, the city was preparing for the possibility of evacuation.

Crystal Vanderford, Altamont Resident, said, “I have blocked off doors and windows, praying every single night that I don’t have a four, five thousand dollar electric bill.”

While the Winter weather is seemingly coming to an end, its impact is still far from over for places like Altamont. Throughout these historic lows the cost of gas has surged from what they usually are.

Michael Shields, Altamont Public Information Officer, said, “About three dollars MMBtu to 622 dollars MMBtu, and that’s been going on for the last seven days.”

It got so bad at one point, the city was considering evacuation in the event their supply got cut off.

“We’ve asked people in the event of that situation arising, to reach out to friends and family in other areas that they could go stay with.”

Luckily enough for them, the storm has passed and they were told this evacuation would likely not be needed. However, the town is now preparing for the cost of the weather.

“I’ve been approached by several people in the community about ‘I can’t afford a high bill like that, I can’t afford $1,000 or $2,000.”

“We used six units last month, if I figured that out we’d have a 4,050 dollar bill, like who can afford that,” said Vanderford.

They won’t be going down without a fight though. Night and day, the city government is dedicated to make sure their community won’t be facing these prices alone.

“We will be working diligently to make sure we assist them, we will have a place and do whatever we can for everybody,” said Shields.

The city is currently working with local, state, and federal agencies to develop these options to help with financial assistance for the city. We reached out to the company responsible for the price increase. It has yet to respond to our calls.

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