Labeled natural gas shock: Southern Californians are seeing a sharp increase in bills this month

Sylmar, Los Angeles (CABC) – Much of Southern California’s natural gas bills are suddenly more expensive.

SoCal Gas has already warned customers: “January bills are likely to be shockingly high.”

Lauren Davis is among these shocked clients.

When she opened up her family’s gas bill this month, she found it was about 25% higher than expected.

“I opened the bill and it was $330 and the first thing was: What’s the temperature in our house?” said Davis.

After taking a closer look, Davis discovered that she actually used less gas this year than in the same time period last year.

But the cost of natural gas supplies has nearly doubled, leaving more money out of her pocket.

“For a cooler home, less gas is used and that’s insane,” Davis said.

When SoCal Gas warned customers about the expected increase in a message on its website in late December, the company said that natural gas market prices in the West more than doubled between December and January.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the reasons behind the rise in natural gas prices included the following factors:

  • Prevalence of temperatures below the normal level
  • High consumption of natural gas
  • Decreased flows of natural gas
  • Pipeline restrictions, including maintenance in West Texas
  • Low levels of natural gas storage in the Pacific region
  • SoCalGas announced Friday that it has contributed $1 million to its Gas Assistance Fund, which gives a one-time $100 grant to qualified applicants.

    Davis said she did not meet the income requirements. Instead, she had to pull down her family’s food budget. She worries about those with less resilience, like her elderly neighbor.

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    “I can live at 66 (degrees). She can’t. She’s on oxygen, like, she can’t live at 66 and they’re actually looking to get a roommate. That’s the answer,” Davis said, adding, “The 94-year-old General, do you get a roommate?”

    Among the tips given by SoCalGas for reducing natural gas use are not using it when not necessary, such as a gas stove, lowering the thermostat three to five degrees, and washing clothes in cold water.

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