Customers receiving their first SoCalGas bills of the winter may be wondering why their bill seems higher than normal. The short answer is the commodity price for natural gas is at record highs. The commodity price is the set sales price for a commodity-based item and is not controlled by SoCalGas. SoCalGas does not earn any profits from higher natural gas commodity prices. The commodity price SoCalGas pays for the natural gas we purchase for our customers is the same price our customers pay.
Two approved rate changes also went into effect on January 1, 2022, including new natural gas transportation rates, approved by the CPUC in 2019, with residential rates increasing about 6% and small businesses by 14% on average. Secondly, the procurement rate for natural gas also increased18.4 cents per therm to 85.5 cents per them.
Southern California experienced colder than usual temperatures in the month of December and we know that natural gas use is typically 3-7 times higher during the winter. All of this is leading to higher utility bills.
And while the weather has gotten a little bit warmer here in California since the new year began, temperatures have dropped in many areas of the country, leading to increased demand for natural gas nationwide and driving up costs even more. Currently, the January 2022 natural gas commodity price is double the January 2021 price. So even though customers may use less gas this month, their bills may continue to be higher than usual.
We understand that our customers might be concerned about their bill and we want to offer some tips to help lower energy usage.
Tips to lower energy usage:
• Set your thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and 55 at night if your health permits it.
• Install proper caulking and weather-stripping; this can save roughly 10 to 15 percent on heating and cooling bills.
• Colder weather also impacts water heaters because they must work longer and harder to heat the colder water coming in. Water heaters can account for 25 percent of natural gas use.
• Take shorter showers to reduce your natural gas use.
• Fix leaky faucets and pipes. Hot water leaks cause increased demand on the water heater which increases natural gas use. One drop of water per second can waste 500 gallons of hot water per year.
• Limit the use of non-essential natural gas appliances such as spas and fireplaces.
• We encourage our customers to take advantage of our easy-to-use online tools to explain your bills and help you save money.
• To prepare for your upcoming bills and to prevent any surprises, you can sign up for our Bill Tracker Alerts and other billing and payment-related notifications through "Manage My Account," "Manage Alerts," within My Account.
Our Bill Tracker Alerts will be texted to your phone or sent via email to help you track your projected gas bill during the billing cycle.
Customer Assistance Programs
We also offer programs for income-qualified customers – such as a rate discount or no-cost home weatherization services, additional gas at the lower baseline rate for customers with certain medical conditions, rebates on qualifying energy-efficient appliances, or upgrades to your home. We encourage anyone who is having trouble paying their bill to call 800-427-2200.
To sign up for these programs and services, or for more information on how to reduce winter gas bills, visit www.socalgas.com/winter.