LA Supes Want Sky-High Gas Bills Investigated
If you’re like most people, your jaw hit the floor when you saw last month's gas bill.
Gas bills have tripled across the state following a spike in the price of natural gas. Residents have reported bills totaling $400 to $900.
The outcry has been swift, especially in Los Angeles County. Last week, the Board of Supervisors called on the state to launch an investigation.
“Exorbitant natural gas price spikes are upending our constituents’ abilities to pay for the essential utility service that keeps them warm during these cold winter months,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who introduced the motion along with her colleague Holly J. Mitchell. “We need to examine what is driving this unexpected price increase and also develop relief strategies that will reach the many people who will struggle to pay gas bills that tripled overnight. We can’t wait for this issue to fix itself.”
“The surge in natural gas prices have had sweeping effects in the County, and low-income households are disproportionately impacted by the shocking and unforeseen price increases,” Supervisor Mitchell stated. “The [California Public Utilities Commission] must investigate the issue, and our natural gas partners must do more to help families lower the cost of their bills. Our region’s vulnerability to natural gas supply fluctuations is one more reason why the County must urgently move away from fossil fuel dependence.”
SoCal gas blames an increase in global prices. The company says it paid $3.45 per therm for natural gas in January — four times more than it paid last year.
Relief could be coming soon. The utility announced a 68% drop in rates this week as rates have started to come down. Customers should see the reduction reflected on next month’s bill.
“While we’re relieved that prices have dropped significantly since last month, they remain higher than usual for this time of year,” SoCal executive Gillian Wright cautioned.
So break out the snuggies and turn that thermostat down.