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Climate and Environment

Big Relief On Those Sky High Gas Bills Should Be Just Around The Corner

Smow capped mountain rise above homes and boats in a marina
Birds fly over Huntington Harbor in front of the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains today. Unusually high gas bills has made staying warm in this Southern Californians cold spell extra costly.
(Michael Heiman
Getty Images)
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SoCalGas officials said Tuesday that the cost of natural gas in February is expected to drop by two-thirds — and that price relief will show up when it bills you next month.

Why it matters

Did your last bill from the SoCalGas — or for that matter, wherever you get your gas in Southern California — take your breath away? You know it's bad when natural gas providers use words like "unprecedented" and "shockingly high" and call news conferences to give strapped customers options for some relief.

Why it got so costly

Let's take SoCalGas, which supplies nearly 22 million customers in more than 500 communities across the region. In January, the utility's prices more than doubled over December — which was already high. The details:

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Natural gas is measured in units known as "therms." SoCalGas says this month it paid $3.45 per therm. In February, that'll drop to a $1.11. Keep this in mind: That's still 80% higher than it paid a year ago at this time.

What caused the jump?

Here's what Long Beach, another major provider whose customers are feeling the pain, says:

  • Colder temperatures than usual in the West meant more consumption
  • "Constraints on the interstate pipelines serving California" (The state imports 90% of its gas)
  • Less gas than usual stored "due to maintenance"

What can you do to lower your costs in general and stay warmer?

We've got some great tips for you.

What questions do you have about Southern California?

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