SoCal Gas warns customers to expect 'shockingly high' bills this month: Here's why

Jessica De Nova Image
Friday, January 6, 2023
Natural gas bills are skyrocketing in SoCal now: Here's why
SoCal Gas has already warned customers: "January bills are likely to be shockingly high,"

SYLMAR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A lot of natural gas bills in Southern California are suddenly getting more expensive.

SoCal Gas has already warned customers: "January bills are likely to be shockingly high,"

Lauren Davis is among those shocked customers.

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

"I opened the bill and it was $330 and the first thing was, 'What's the temperature in our house?'" Davis said.

After taking a closer look, Davis found out she actually used less gas this year compared to the same time period last year.

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

"For a colder house, less gas used and it's insane," Davis said.

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

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the reasons behind the price hike of natural gas included the following factors:

  • Widespread, below-normal temperatures
  • High natural gas consumption
  • Reduced natural gas flows
  • Pipeline constraints, including maintenance in West Texas
  • Low natural gas storage levels in the Pacific region
  • SoCalGas announced Friday that it contributed $1 million toward its gas assistance fund, which gives one-time, $100 grants to qualifying applicants.

    Davis said she didn't meet the income requirements. Instead she had to pull from her family's food budget. She worries for those with less flexibility, like her elderly neighbor.

    "I can live in 66 (degrees). She cannot. She's on oxygen, like, she can't live in 66 and they're actually looking to get a roommate. That's the answer," Davis said, adding, "to have a 94-year-old get a roommate?"

    Among the tips SoCalGas gave to reduce natural gas use were not using it where not necessary, such as with a gas fireplace, bringing down your thermostat three to five degrees and washing clothes with cold water.