As gas and electric bills begin to roll out from deep freeze, businesses share concerns

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Along with the title of Wichita’s oldest coffee shop, comes an older building for Il Primo Espresso Caffe. So, they are not new to high bills.

“We are not terribly well insulated, so it’s difficult for our HVAC system to keep up anyways but with the extreme cold it was even more difficult,” said Daniel Newman-Mariotti, owner and operator of Il Primo Espresso Caffe.

Gas and electricity bills are starting to make their way out after February’s deep freeze. Those bills have proven to have a deep impact on wallets.

“We went from a normal January, and the bill that came in a couple of days ago is triple the size — so it was shocking,” said Denise Hall, owner of Be Amazed Carpet Cleaning and Services.

“I’m very concerned about what the bills are going to be like,” Newan-Mariotti said.

Il Primo Caffe is expecting to get their natural gas bill Tuesday.

“Every month it feels like we are getting hit with another thing we have no control over that we have nothing to do with and can’t help ourselves but that is taking away, chipping away slowly but surely at our ability to just stay in business,” Newman-Mariotti said.

Hall from says the unexpected bill takes away from other needs.

“Well that’s a piece of equipment we can buy or that’s something else we can do — that’s a bonus somebody may be able to have,” she said.

The Kansas State Legislature has passed a bill to offer help for city-owned utilities.

Congressman Ron Estes says he is working to explore other relief options.

“We’re still looking to see if more can be done so that the end consumer – the families and businesses in Kansas – aren’t suffering from this for years to come.”

Some business owners say they aren’t expecting relief on the bills but say it would be appreciated.

Congressman Estes says the Kansas Corporation Commission has started a payment plan option to spread out the cost for users.

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