Company encourages customers to take advantage of conservation tips and programs to help reduce their bills
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced a $1 million contribution to the Gas Assistance Fund, a program that helps income-qualified customers pay their natural gas bills. Customers will be facing bills that could be double or higher compared to last year's winter bills.
The high bills are a result of historically high natural gas prices in the western United States. SoCalGas doesn't set the price for natural gas. Instead, natural gas prices are determined by national and regional markets. SoCalGas buys natural gas in those markets on behalf of residential and small business customers, and the cost of buying that gas is billed to those customers with no markup, meaning SoCalGas does not profit from gas commodity prices going up.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), a number of factors are contributing to higher natural gas commodity prices.
- Widespread, below-normal temperatures on much of the West Coast, including Washington and Oregon;
- High natural gas demand for heating by customers in areas with below normal temperatures;
- Reduced natural gas supplies to the West Coast from Canada and the Rocky Mountains;
- Reduced interstate pipeline capacity to the West Coast because of pipeline maintenance activities in West Texas; and
- Low natural gas storage levels on the West Coast.
A detailed report about these market conditions can be found here: https://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/weekly/.
The Gas Assistance Fund is a joint effort between SoCalGas and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, working with non-profit organizations throughout our service territory, to help income-qualified customers pay their natural gas bill with a one-time grant of up to $100 per household. Full guidelines for qualification can be found at https://www.socalgas.com/gaf.
"We know that these higher prices have a real impact on our customers," said Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Gillian Wright. "But we want them to know that there is help. We have valuable information on how to conserve energy, programs to assist with managing your energy usage and an unprecedented contribution to our Gas Assistance Fund, which will help our most vulnerable customers pay their bills."
To help customers manage energy usage and possibly save on bills, SoCalGas recommends the following tips:
- 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 to save up to 10 percent on water heating costs.
- Considering turning down the temperature on your water heater.
- Limiting use of non-essential natural gas appliances such as spas and fireplaces.
SoCalGas' free Ways to Save tool may also help customers find ways to save on natural gas bills, with a personalized savings plan that offers a household energy analysis, customized energy-efficiency recommendations, bill comparisons and energy usage comparisons. Ways to Save can be found at www.socalgas.com/waystosave.
Customers can also sign up for weekly Bill Tracker Alerts to monitor gas consumption, take steps to reduce usage, and avoid bill surprises. Alerts are sent through email or text and include a bill-to-date and projected next bill amount to help manage 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.
SoCalGas also encourages individuals who are experiencing hardship to explore the many bill payment or assistance programs options it offers or to call 1-800-427-2200. Customers may be eligible for one of many assistance programs including:
- California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE): Eligible participants can save 20 percent on their natural gas bill. Socalgas.com/CARE
- Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESAP): Eligible customers can save energy and money through professional home improvements at no cost. Socalgas.com/Improvements
- Arrearage Management Plan (AMP): Eligible customers can apply to have their past due balance forgiven. Learn more at www.socalgas.com/forgiveness.
For more information on tips, programs and ways to save, visit https://newsroom.socalgas.com/stories/a-note-to-our-customers-high-bills-may-come-as-a-shock-in-january-but-we-have-some-tips-and.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, and increasingly renewable gas service to 21.8 million consumers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California. Gas delivered through the company's pipelines will continue to play a key role in California's clean energy transition—providing electric grid reliability and supporting wind and solar energy deployment.
SoCalGas' mission is to build the cleanest, safest and most innovative energy company in America. In support of that mission, SoCalGas aspires to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and delivery of energy by 2045 and to replacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply to core customers with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030. Renewable natural gas is made from waste created by landfills and wastewater treatment plants. SoCalGas is also committed to investing in its gas delivery infrastructure while keeping bills affordable for customers. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra (NYSE: SRE), an energy infrastructure company based in San Diego.
This press release contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based on assumptions with respect to the future, involve risks and uncertainties, and are not guarantees. Future results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement. These forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this press release. We assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other factors.
In this press release, forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as "believes," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "contemplates," "plans," "estimates," "projects," "forecasts," "should," "could," "would," "will," "confident," "may," "can," "potential," "possible," "proposed," "in process," " construct," "develop," "opportunity," "initiative," "target," "outlook," "optimistic," "maintain," "continue," "progress," "advance," "goal," "aim," "commit," or similar expressions, or when we discuss our guidance, priorities, strategy, goals, vision, mission, opportunities, projections, intentions or expectations.
Factors, among others, that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement include risks and uncertainties relating to: decisions, investigations, regulations, issuances or revocations of permits or other authorizations, renewals of franchises, and other actions by (i) the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), U.S. Department of Energy, and other governmental and regulatory bodies and (ii) the U.S. and states, counties, cities and other jurisdictions therein in which we do business; the success of business development efforts and construction projects, including risks in (i) completing construction projects or other transactions on schedule and budget, (ii) realizing anticipated benefits from any of these efforts if completed, and (iii) obtaining the consent or approval of partners or other third parties, including governmental and regulatory bodies; civil and criminal litigation, regulatory inquiries, investigations, arbitrations and other proceedings, including those related to the natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility; changes to laws and regulations; cybersecurity threats, including by state and state-sponsored actors, by ransomware or other attacks on our systems or the systems of third-parties with which we conduct business, including to the energy grid or other energy infrastructure, all of which have become more pronounced due to recent geopolitical events, such as the war in Ukraine; failure of our counterparties to honor their contracts and commitments; our ability to borrow money on favorable terms or otherwise and meet our debt service obligations, including due to (i) actions by credit rating agencies to downgrade our credit ratings or place those ratings on negative outlook and (ii) rising interest rates and inflation; the impact on our cost of capital and the affordability of customer rates due to volatility in inflation, interest rates and commodity prices and our ability to effectively hedge these risks; the impact of energy and climate policies, laws, rules and disclosures, as well as related goals and actions of companies in our industry, including actions to reduce or eliminate reliance on natural gas, any deterioration of or increased uncertainty in the political or regulatory environment for California natural gas distribution companies and the risk of nonrecovery for stranded assets; the pace of the development and adoption of new technologies in the energy sector, including those designed to support governmental and private party energy and climate goals, and our ability to efficiently incorporate them into our business; weather, natural disasters, pandemics, accidents, equipment failures, explosions, acts of terrorism, information system outages or other events that disrupt our operations, damage our facilities or systems, cause the release of harmful materials, cause fires or subject us to liability for damages, fines and penalties, some of which may not be recoverable through regulatory mechanisms, may be disputed or not covered by insurers, or may impact our ability to obtain satisfactory levels of affordable insurance; the availability of natural gas and natural gas storage capacity, including disruptions caused by limitations on the withdrawal of natural gas from storage facilities; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on capital projects, regulatory approvals and the execution of our operations; changes in tax and trade policies, laws and regulations, including tariffs, revisions to international trade agreements and sanctions, such as those that have been imposed and that may be imposed in the future in connection with the war in Ukraine, which may increase our costs, reduce our competitiveness, impact our ability to do business with certain counterparties, or impair our ability to resolve trade disputes; and other uncertainties, some of which are difficult to predict and beyond our control.
These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that the company has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC's website, http://www.sec.gov, and on Sempra's website, http://www.sempra.com. Investors should not rely unduly on any forward-looking statements.
Sempra Infrastructure, Sempra Texas, Sempra Mexico, Sempra Texas Utilities, Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC (Oncor) and Infraestructura Energética Nova, S.A.P.I. de C.V. (IEnova) are not the same companies as the California utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric Company or Southern California Gas Company, and Sempra Infrastructure, Sempra Texas, Sempra Mexico, Sempra Texas Utilities, Oncor and IEnova are not regulated by the CPUC.
SOURCE Southern California Gas Company