LOS ANGELES (KABC) — As Californians struggle to pay sky-high natural gas bills, utility access activists are encouraging people to contact state regulators.
Mark Toney is the executive director of The Utilities Reform Network, a non-profit organization also known as TURN which works to ensure that utilities are clean, safe and affordable.
He said people upset about the sudden spike in their SoCalGas bills should call the California Public Utilities Commission’s upcoming meeting on Thursday and express their anger.
“We are just very concerned that this is out of control and something needs to be done to moderate this type of price spike,” he told Eyewitness News.
SoCalGas said wholesale natural gas prices soared this winter, now up just 128% from December to January. The company warns customers that while their peak winter bill was around $130 last year, it will most likely drop to around $315 this year.
Crestline resident Dennis Duvall is recovering from triple bypass surgery and has lupus. These health issues keep him in the house 24 hours a day with the thermostat set at around 75 degrees.
His last bill was $918.75.
READ ALSO | Residents fear SoCalGas customers will ‘freeze to death’ trying to save money to pay sky-high bills
“I have to pay it,” he said. “I have to keep the heat. It’s going to be very hard.”
Dave Miner of Crestline just saw his gas bill go up to $700.
“It takes money out of my kids, it takes money out of my grocery bill,” Miner said.
Toney said many California residents with medical conditions qualify for programs like Medical Baseline to help lower utility costs.
“They can sign up for Medical Baseline for gas and get a reduced price and additional shutdown protections if you’re behind on your bill,” Toney said.
Any other fuel saving tips?
“Turn the thermostat down if your and your family’s health allow it, rely a little more on sweaters, blankets, close vents in rooms you don’t use,” Toney advises.
Copyright © 2023 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.