The Southern California Gas Company has a message for its customers as January bills are likely to be shockingly high. An unprecedented cold snap across the nation caused natural gas market prices in the West to more than double between December and January – to the tune of 128% since December.
As a result, SoCalGas customers can expect to see higher gas bills in the coming weeks. While SoCalGas doesn’t set these prices (they’re set by regional and national markets), nor does SoCalGas actually profit from rising prices, the Company wants its customers to know that they understand that this may be a shock and a hardship for some.
SoCalGas offers many accessible tools to help you cut down on energy usage and help lower your bills amidst the rising costs. The Company encourages customers to sign up for weekly Bill Tracker Alerts to monitor gas consumption, take steps to reduce usage, and avoid bill surprises. Alerts will be sent through email or text and include a bill-to-date and projected next bill amount to help you manage your energy bills as easily as possible. Eligible customers may also sign up for a Level Pay Plan (LPP), which averages their annual natural gas use and costs over 12 months.
Several unprecedented events occurring simultaneously over the last few weeks have contributed to the rising price of natural gas.
- Widespread, below-normal temperatures
- High natural gas consumption
- Reduced natural gas flows
- Pipeline constraints, including maintenance in West Texas
Customers can expect to see changes in their natural gas bills this winter due to the rise in natural gas prices. If your residential peak winter bill was around $65 last winter, you can expect to see bills closer to $160 this year. Similarly, if it was around $130 last winter, customers can expect to see bills around $315 this year. These increases are primarily due to increases in the price of gas and to a much lesser extent increased transportation rates. Our rates for the transportation of natural gas are set by the California Public Utilities Commission, which reviews those rates yearly.
SoCalGas has been and will continue to be diligent in informing its customers about winter gas prices to keep them informed and help empower them with important information to assist them through this tough time. Here are some useful tips to get you started, keeping in mind that not every one of these tips will work for everyone:
- Lowering your thermostat three to five degrees – if health permits – can save up to 10 percent on heating costs.
- Installing proper caulking and weather-stripping can save roughly 10 to 15 percent on heating and cooling bills.
- Washing clothes in cold water saves up to 10 percent on water heating costs.
- Consider turning down the temperature on your water heater.
- Limit the use of non-essential natural gas appliances such as spas, pool heaters, and fireplaces.
For more information on natural gas prices and predictions, visit https://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/weekly/
The Ways to Save Energy-Saving Tool can provide you with a customized analysis of your energy usage that can help you track your energy efficiency progress and help lower bills. In addition, the Company has a number of assistance programs that range from past due bill forgiveness, CARE program (bill discount), and free energy efficiency home improvements through the Energy Savings Assistance Program.
For more information on bills and how to lower your costs, please visit socalgas.com/ManageHigherBills