SoCalGas Triples Contribution to Gas Assistance Fund to Help Customers Impacted by Historically High Natural Gas Prices
Company encourages customers to take advantage of conservation tips and programs to help reduce their bills
LOS ANGELES – January 6, 2023 – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced a $1 million contribution to the Gas Assistance Fund, a program that helps income-qualified customers pay their natural gas bills beginning Jan. 17. Customers will be facing bills that could be double or higher compared to last year’s winter bills.
The high bills are a result of historically high natural gas prices in the western United States. SoCalGas doesn’t set the price for natural gas. Instead, natural gas prices are determined by national and regional markets. SoCalGas buys natural gas in those markets on behalf of residential and small business customers, and the cost of buying that gas is billed to those customers with no markup, meaning SoCalGas does not profit from gas commodity prices going up.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), a number of factors are contributing to higher natural gas commodity prices.
• Widespread, below-normal temperatures on much of the West Coast, including Washington and Oregon;
• High natural gas demand for heating by customers in areas with below normal temperatures;
• Reduced natural gas supplies to the West Coast from Canada and the Rocky Mountains;
• Reduced interstate pipeline capacity to the West Coast because of pipeline maintenance activities in West Texas; and
• Low natural gas storage levels on the West Coast.
A detailed report about these market conditions can be found here: https://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/weekly/.
The Gas Assistance Fund is a joint effort between SoCalGas and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, working with non-profit organizations throughout our service territory, to help income-qualified customers pay their natural gas bill with a one-time grant of up to $100 per household. Full guidelines for qualification can be found at https://www.socalgas.com/gaf.
“We know that these higher prices have a real impact on our customers,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Gillian Wright. “But we want them to know that there is help. We have valuable information on how to conserve energy, programs to assist with managing your energy usage and an unprecedented contribution to our Gas Assistance Fund, which will help our most vulnerable customers pay their bills.”
To help customers manage energy usage and possibly save on bills, SoCalGas recommends the following tips:
• Lowering your thermostat three to five degrees – if health permits – can save up to 10 percent on heating costs.
• Installing proper caulking and weather-stripping can save roughly 10 to 15 percent on heating and cooling bills.
• Washing clothes in cold water to save up to 10 percent on water heating costs.
• Considering turning down the temperature on your water heater.
• Limiting use of non-essential natural gas appliances such as spas and fireplaces.
SoCalGas’ free Ways to Save tool may also help customers find ways to save on natural gas bills, with a personalized savings plan that offers a household energy analysis, customized energy-efficiency recommendations, bill comparisons and energy usage comparisons. Ways to Save can be found at www.socalgas.com/waystosave.
Customers can also sign up for weekly Bill Tracker Alerts to monitor gas consumption, take steps to reduce usage, and avoid bill surprises. Alerts are sent through email or text and include a bill-to-date and projected next bill amount to help manage energy bills as easily as possible. Eligible customers may also sign up for a Level Pay Plan (LPP), which averages their annual natural gas use and costs over 12 months.
SoCalGas also encourages individuals who are experiencing hardship to explore the many bill payment or assistance programs options it offers or to call 1-800 427-2200. Customers may be eligible for one of many assistance programs including:
• California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE): Eligible participants can save 20 percent on their natural gas bill. Socalgas.com/CARE
• Energy Savings Assistance Program (ESAP): Eligible customers can save energy and money through professional home improvements at no cost. Socalgas.com/Improvements
• Arrearage Management Plan (AMP): Eligible customers can apply to have their past due balance forgiven. Learn more at www.socalgas.com/forgiveness.
For more information on tips, programs and ways to save, visit https://newsroom.socalgas.com/stories/a-note-to-our-customers-high-bills-may-come-as-a-shock-in-january-but-we-have-some-tips-and.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, and increasingly renewable gas service to 21.8 million consumers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California. Gas delivered through the company’s pipelines will continue to play a key role in California’s clean energy transition—providing electric grid reliability and supporting wind and solar energy deployment. SoCalGas’ mission is to build the cleanest, safest and most innovative energy company in America. In support of that mission, SoCalGas aspires to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and delivery of energy by 2045 and to replacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply to core customers with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030. Renewable natural gas is made from waste created by landfills and wastewater treatment plants. SoCalGas is also committed to investing in its gas delivery infrastructure while keeping bills affordable for customers. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra (NYSE: SRE), an energy infrastructure company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.