SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers across the Greater Sacramento region have voiced their concerns on Facebook and Nextdoor about the significant increases they have seen in their gas bills for the month of December compared to past months.
According to PG&E, gas supply costs have significantly increased this winter in comparison to last winter. This significant increase is not just in California, but nationwide and globally as well.
"Natural gas commodity prices began increasing this past spring and have been accelerating this fall," PG&E Spokesperson Megan McFarland said. "Natural gas commodity prices this winter, Nov. 2021 to Mar. 2022, are about 90% higher in PG&E’s service territory than last year."
Sabrina Beach, a resident of Carmichael, was one of the many outraged PG&E customers that saw their gas bill increase drastically this billing cycle.
Beach's $598.35 gas bill for Dec. 16, 2021- Jan. 14, 2022, was just over double her $288.36 gas bill for the month of November.
"It's outrageous how much our bill has increased even though we haven't increased our usage," Beach told ABC10.
PG&E reminds customers that they do not profit from these purchases of natural gas; What they as a company pay for gas and electric supply is what their customers pay as well.
Here are a few tips PG&E has for reducing energy costs this winter:
- Lower your thermostat when away: According to PG&E, "customers can save about 1% on heating costs per each degree lowered over an eight-hour time frame."
- Control water temperature: Setting the water heater thermostat at 120 degrees or lower can save customers about 10% in water heating costs for every ten degrees lowered.
- Microwave and save: By reheating leftovers in a microwave, it takes less time and uses up to 80% less energy than a standard oven.
- Upgrade Lighting: According to PG&E, "LEDs use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting."
A full list of ways to save on gas costs this winter can be found here.
Additionally, PG&E has the following assistance programs available to their customers:
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): "Offers customers up to $1,000 to pay eligible household energy costs."
- Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH) Program: "Offers one-time financial assistance to qualified customers with past-due bills."
- Arrearage Management Plan (AMP): "Offers up to $8,000 in unpaid balance forgiveness to qualifying customers who owe at least $500 or more on their gas and electric bill or at least $250 or more on their gas-only bill and are more than 90 days past due."
- California’s COVID-19 Rent Relief Act: "Helps income-eligible households pay rent and utilities, both for past due and future payments. Renters and landlords are eligible to apply."
- Budget billing: "Averages out energy costs for more manageable monthly payments and eliminates big spikes in bills due to seasonal changes."
PG&E encourages customers who have questions about their energy usage and bills to contact PG&E customer service at 1-800-743-5000.