Soaring market rates for natural gas and a colder-than-normal start to California’s winter have Golden State utilities and their customers bracing for brutal December energy bills.
By the numbers: Natural gas market prices in California and the West Coast have run incredibly high heading into the holidays, prompting utilities to issue warnings to customers.
- On Dec. 21, the average spot price for 1 million BTU of natural gas for California’s natural gas buyers (including PG&E and SoCalGas) was roughly nine times the benchmark Henry Hub price, per the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
How bad is bad? Depends on which utility you ask.
- Currently, PG&E is projecting customers’ gas bills to jump by 24 percent from December through February, with potential for lesser impacts if local weather conditions warm.
- SoCalGas, which services portions of the San Joaquin Valley, is predicting a doubling of gas rates during peak winter months.
What they’re saying: “PG&E recognizes our responsibility to serve our customers safely and reliably while keeping their energy bills as low as possible. We’re here to help all our customers save money by working with them to find the best rate plan for their household or business, sharing free and low-cost actions to help them reduce energy usage and better manage monthly bills, and offering assistance programs for income-eligible customers,” Vincent Davis, PG&E Vice President, Customer Operations and Enablement, said.