Californians receiving Climate Credits early to offset high natural gas bills

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Saturday, February 11, 2023
Californians receiving Climate Credits early as natural gas bills soar
After skyrocketing natural gas bills, people are beginning to receive some early assistance in the form of California Climate Credits.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- After skyrocketing natural gas bills, people are beginning to receive some assistance.

The new aid is called California Climate Credits, and the amount you receive depends on your utility providers.

Henry Pena opened his recent natural gas bill to find it had more than tripled.

"Oh my God. I've never paid this much before," he said.

He said his gas bill this month was $225, and that's with a rebate for low-income people.

Pena, a Vietnam veteran, visited a SoCalGas office in San Bernardino to pay his bill and see about getting an additional discount as a veteran.

But what he didn't know was that his next bill would include the California Climate Credit.

READ ALSO | Residents fear SoCalGas customers will 'freeze to death' trying to save money to pay sky-high bills

The utility company said January bills will likely be "shockingly high" as natural gas prices skyrocketed. Now, some residents fear some people might freeze to death trying to save money on heating their homes.

"It's going to help... My daughter has a two-story house in Rialto. She paid $400 and something for gas, Pena said.

Each April and October, Californians automatically receive a credit on their electric and natural gas bill. On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission fast tracked the annual payment to help consumers facing higher than normal gas bills this month.

SoCalGas sent out an email to its customers letting them know a $50.77 credit will appear on their current or next bill. It's still not enough to offset the skyrocketing prices many are experiencing.

Natural gas prices have risen in recent months with utility companies blaming frigid temperatures and supply issues for the increase. In January of 2020, the price per unit of natural gas was .35 cents. Last month the price per unit was $3.45, almost 10 times what it was two years ago.

"It sort of hurts, like the gas for your car," said Mario Gutierrez.

Gutierrez says he's been forced to make some uncomfortable choices to cut his costs.

"I use my heater maybe 15 minutes, and that is about it," he said.

The price of natural gas is falling and next month's bill should be lower, but no where near where it was in 2020.