Californians face exorbitant natural gas bills

With their most recent natural gas bill, many Californians are experiencing sticker shock.

Natural gas prices have skyrocketed in January, according to utilities, due to market forces, colder-than-average temperatures across the country, and weather issues in California.

"If your peak winter bill was around $65 last winter, you can expect bills closer to $160 this year," SoCalGas warned earlier this month.


Unfortunately, that estimate may be conservative.

According to SoCalGas, the "Core Procurement Gas Price" per therm, which measures heat energy, is up roughly 314% from last January.

Natural gas futures prices in other parts of the country, on the other hand, have fallen to a 17-month low.

"It's the polar opposite of what's happening in California right now," said Robert Yawger, an energy futures strategist at investment firm Mizuho Securities. "It's a big country, and there are regional differentials that will spike - or slide - and right now, you're seeing some big spikes because of the weather situation in California."

According to SoCalGas, market prices are determined and passed on directly to customers without markup.

"These high market prices suddenly experienced throughout Southern California have understandably shocked our customers," Long Beach Utilities General Manager Chris Garner said in a news release.

"While there are legitimate market forces that have resulted in the price increase, it does not alleviate the financial impact on our residents who rely on natural gas to heat their homes, cook their food, and warm their showers."

What can California residents do to reduce their natural gas bills?


The following options are recommended by Long Beach utilities:

  • Reduce the temperature to 68 degrees or lower.
  • Cold water should be used to wash clothes.
  • Reduce the length of your hot showers.
  • During the day, use natural sunlight to heat your home.
  • Wrap up in warm blankets, socks, and sweaters.

Gas Procurement Prices

Month Effective Core  Procurement Gas Price (Cents Per Therm)
January 1/1/23 344.892
December 12/1/22 105.329
November 11/1/22 64.959
October 10/1/22 65.420
September 9/1/22 96.994
August 8/1/22 97.540
July 7/1/22 75.995
June 6/1/22 103.488
May 5/1/22 74.318
April 4/1/22 58.143
March 3/1/22 55.921
February 2/1/22 60.655
January 1/1/22 83.569
December 12/1/21 65.129


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