Natural gas prices are expected to be surprisingly high in January, according to the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas).
A utility sent a warning email to a customer. It said, “It’s hard to put into words. Your bill in January will be higher than usual.”
They attribute past prices to a combination of below-average temperatures, high consumption, declining natural gas flows and pipeline constraints. increase.
Natural gas price increases, which are passed on directly to utility customers at cost, are almost five times higher than they were in January last year. The impact is being felt across the western United States, with bills hundreds of dollars higher than usual, according to SoCalGas.
“When I first saw my bill last month, I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s crazy,’ but when I got the notification that it was going to be doubled this month, I was like, ‘No, that’s not true.'” . ‘I saw the heater turn up last month and immediately turned it off,’ said Cumbria resident Joanie Kemp.
After checking, checking, checking again, Kemp found no discrepancies. Her bill had increased from about $30 in November to $129 in December and $200 in January. SoCalGas warned her that she owed $410 in her next billing period.
“In the last two months, I’ve used less 2therms than I did the previous month when it was $139, but not as much as when I was $30. It was a real shock and I’m not sure why. I wanted to know.” Kemp.
According to SoCalGas, the “why” is out of their hands, stating: Natural gas transportation rates are set by the California Public Utilities Commission and are reviewed annually. ”
To make up for the price increase, they announced a donation of $1 million. gas support fund It provides customers with financial support of up to $100.
Applicants must have their name on the bill, address must be their primary residence, and must meet income requirements.
SoCalGas has California Alternate Rates for Energy Programs This gives eligible customers a 20% discount on their bill. You can apply online using your account number and instantly see if you qualify to meet the income requirements.
In addition to the support from SoCalGas, there are also local financial support programs.
“We provide support to families and individuals in South County who are eligible for our program, and we also work a lot with our industry partners. Capsulo many. They have support programs and weathering programs,” said Devon McQuade, associate director of the 5Cities Homeless Coalition.
The California Public Works Commission (CPUC) will hold a virtual meeting on February 7 to discuss this winter’s high natural gas prices and explore options to mitigate the impact on customers.
As for when prices will drop, SoCalGas was unable to give an exact date on when to expect relief.
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