With astronomical natural gas prices squeezing the pocketbooks of Southern California Gas Co.’s 21.8 million consumers, the company says relief may be on the way as soon as next month.
A spokesperson told KABC-TV Channel 7 that SoCalGas “expects to make an announcement this week about a significant drop in natural gas rates.” Calls to the utility to get more information were not immediately returned.
The utility said in December that a customer who paid $130 in their peak month of winter consumption last year would this year pay $315, a 142% increase, due to a more than 300% increase in the wholesale price of natural gas since January 2022.
The higher gas prices have spurred elected officials to take action.
Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson addressed the price hikes, saying in a tweet that he would call an emergency City Council meeting Wednesday afternoon “to establish a financial assistance fund for seniors and families struggling to make ends meet.”
California Senate Minority Leader Brian M. Jones, a Republican from San Diego, wrote a letter Monday with other Republican senators to the California Public Utilities Commission urging the body to expedite the distribution of California Climate Credits to residents. Those credits, typically distributed in April and October, come from a state program requiring industrial polluters to buy carbon offsets from the California Air Resources Board.
SoCalGas, for its part, announced a $1-million contribution to the Gas Assistance Fund, which provides one-time payments of up to $100 for residents below specified income thresholds. The fund is a partnership between the utility and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
Customers looking for tips on how to conserve natural gas — and lower their bills in the process — can use this guide.