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SoCalGas January Bills are Likely to Be Shockingly High. Here's What to Know

Bad news, natural gas users — so basically everyone: SoCalGas announced gas bills would be more than double, going up 128% from December to January.

SoCalGas made the announcement right before the New Year, and customers should be seeing the surge right about now.

The company said, point blank: “There’s no easy way to put this: January bills are likely to be shockingly high.”

Why is my SoCalGas bill so high?

SoCalGas said the reason behind the bills — which for one NBCLA digital producer went from $27 to $118 — is the unprecedented cold snap that drove up natural gas prices in the western region.

SoCalGas also shared examples of bills customers might see.

Residential peak bill last winterPeak bill this winter
$65$160
$130$315

“We understand that our customers are starting to feel the pain caused by large changes in the natural gas market,” SoCalGas Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Gillian Wright said. “And we also recognize that we owe it to our customers to provide them with as many tools and tips as possible to help them find ways to prepare for colder weather and higher winter bills, including financial assistance in some cases.”  

The company explained that SoCalGas itself does not profit from raising prices, and that the prices are set at the national and regional level markets.

The price at Southern California (SoCal) Citygate reached its highest level for the month on December 13 at $49.67/MMBtu.

eia.gov

What can I do? Tips from SoCalGas

Admitting right off the top that some of these tips won’t work for every customer, SoCalGas shared what people can do to keep their bill down, including:

  • 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. 

On Jan. 6, SoCalGas announced the “Gas Assistance Fund,” a one-time grant of no more than $100 that customers can use to help pay their bill.

The grant is for people who meet certain income requirements that don’t seem all that realistic in a rental market like Southern California. For example: For a household of four, the total income can not exceed $55,500 — before deductions.

But by Friday afternoon, a message on the site read:

“At this time, GAF is closed due to limited funds. Please check back in the future for updates.”

SoCalGas

Despite SoCalGas providing tips, many customers were still unhappy, as the more than doubled bills come while inflation surges across the nation.

“Nice of @socalgas to tell us AFTER we have used the product that it will double in price,” one Twitter user quipped.

SoCalGas also reminded customers of different assistance programs, including past due bill forgiveness.

There’s also another free program via SoCalGas that will replace your appliances with more energy efficient appliances.

You can also order an energy efficient starter kit here.

If you’re looking to buy a new appliance, you can also check out SoCalGas’ rebate programs. For example, if you’re replacing an existing natural gas oven, you can get a $100 rebate on a qualifying energy-efficient oven.

See all incentives and rebates here.

SoCalGas promotes a tool on its site called “Ways to Save” as well. Once logged in as a customer, click on the “Ways to Save” tab.

SoCalGas assistance programs:

Not sure which applies to you? You can call 1-800-427-2200.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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