High natural gas prices impact dry cleaning - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

High natural gas prices impact dry cleaning

November 16, 2005

Valdosta - Workers at the Pleats and Creases Dry Cleaning Plant use steam for just about everything. "In dry cleaning as well as finishing and pressing the garments," said Evan Miller.

The steam comes from huge boilers, which are fueled by natural gas. As the price of that gas continues to soar, the business is seeing a huge increase in their operating costs. "Where we were paying about $1,000 a month, now its almost $5,000," said Miller.

Owner Evan Miller says their natural gas bills have quadrupled since last year. And it goes beyond their daily operational duties, even the plastic bags they cover your garments with are made from a natural gas process. "A bag of the plastic that we purchased a year ago for $15 is now nearly $40 a role," said Miller.

They're dealing with the price hike by making a few operational changes.  "We actually increased our cycle times so that we're able to shut off the boilers earlier in the day and shut off the equipment faster," said Miller.

And unfortunately, they've had to tack some of the cost onto the customer's bill. "We've probably gone up 15 to 40 cent depending on the item," said Miller.

Miller has posted signs on the windows to make customers aware of the price increase. As for when he may some relief, he says he's not counting on it anytime soon. "If we have a cold winter, we could all be in for even worse pricing," said Miller.

But hopefully the prices will stop climbing before anymore cost is passed onto the customer.

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