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California utilities must immediately apply credits to reduce home heating bills

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credits to reduce home heating bills

After enduring emotional and often scathing public comments, state regulators on Thursday ordered utilities to immediately distribute funds to reduce natural gas bills that have become unaffordable for many Californians this winter.

Climate credits, which are typically issued in April, will reduce home heating bills by $43 to $56 for most Californians depending on their natural gas supplier.

‘It’s 48 degrees in my house because of the $600 bill I got with (my) limited budget,’ an elderly person, who was forced to turn off the heating in her home, told a member of the California Public Utilities Commission during their virtual meeting on Thursday. “It’s outrageous and my neighbors are suffering the same way.”

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“The level of corruption in California has reached an all-time high,” said another woman, lambasting both commissioners and utility companies.

“It’s 61 degrees where I live right now. I wear three layers and a beanie,” another commenter told the panel. “But I have a good feeling you can all be warm at home.”

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A combination of factors has caused natural gas bills to soar to two or three (or more) times what they were in January 2022.

Among them are below-normal temperatures in the western United States, which has led to higher demand, lower imports of natural gas from Canada, pipeline problems in western Texas, and low storage levels in the Pacific region, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

SoCalGas, the largest natural gas distributor in California and across the country, says it doesn’t fix the price of natural gas and doesn’t profit when prices rise. He issued a warning to customers in late December 2022 as temperatures plummeted and gas supplies dwindled.

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2023 Natural Gas California Climate Credits (usually issued in April)

2018‡ 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
P&E $30 $25 $27 $25 $48 $52.78
SDG&E * $34 $21 $18 $43 $43.40
Southwest Gas $22 $25 $27 $28 $49 $56.35
SoCalGas * $50 $26 $22 $44 $50.77
California Public Utilities Commission

Funding for climate credits is generated by a state program that requires power plants, natural gas companies, and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to purchase carbon permits through the ‘Air Resources Board.

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