Home>Articles>Senate Republicans Call For CPUC To Alleviate High Natural Gas Prices

Senator Brian Jones. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Senate Republicans Call For CPUC To Alleviate High Natural Gas Prices

Natural gas prices have doubled, tripled in recent months due to colder temperatures, lower that usual supply on the west coast

By Evan Symon, January 30, 2023 5:33 pm

In a letter signed by all California Senate Republicans on Monday, the California Senate Republican Caucus urged the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to take immediate action to alleviate high natural gas prices for Californians following months of growing prices.

For months, natural gas prices have steadily climbed up across California. However, bills from the past few months in particular have gone up by two times or more, with Northern California residents feeling the added burden due to colder than usual temperatures, and those in Central and Southern California seeing similar spikes.. According to SoCal Gas, the “Core Procurement Gas Price” has gone up 314% since last year. PG&E also noted similar spikes in prices.

“If your residential peak winter bill was around $65 last winter, you can expect to see bills closer to $160 this year,” said SoCalGas in early January. “The high bills are a result of historically high natural gas prices, specifically in the western United States.”

Colder weather statewide has increased demand, causing prices to jump up. Not helping matters is a smaller supply of natural gas on the West Coast due to unusually cold temperatures more restrictions and outright bans on new natural gas wells across the state, causing California production to go down.

Some counties, most notably LA County, have passed motions calling for the state to investigate high gas prices in recent weeks due to residents shock at the increases. They have also called for the development of new plans to help stop future spikes in prices.

“The surge in natural gas prices have had sweeping effects in the County, and low-income households are disproportionately impacted by the shocking and unforeseen price increases,” noted Los Angeles Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell last week. “The CPUC must investigate the issue, and our natural gas partners must do more to help families lower the cost of their bills. Our region’s vulnerability to natural gas supply fluctuations is one more reason why the County must urgently move away from fossil fuel dependence.”

Republicans call for gas credits to be applied early

This led to Senate Republicans, headed by Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones (R-Santee) to put pressure on CPUC on Monday. In their letter, Republicans aimed at offsetting high winter costs by asking CPUC to roll out the the 2023 California Climate Credit early and have it be applied to gas bills as soon as possible. The credit, which typically applies around $60-$100 to offset gas bills beginning in April, comes from gas companies buying carbon permits through the state, with payments trickling down to users. While the credit may only pay off February bills either completely or partially if the credits are moved up, Republicans on Monday stressed that relief is needed now.

“We would like to thank the Commission for adding the important issue of the 2023 California Climate Credit Disbursements to your February 2, 2023 meeting agenda,” said the letter on Monday. “We respectfully request the California Public Utilities Commission adopt the proposal regarding the 2023 California Climate Credit and allow for the disbursement of the credit as soon as possible.”

“Californians are facing natural gas bills that are double and even triple their usual cost. These high gas bills add to the financial hardships Californian families are already facing, such as rising inflation and high cost of living.”

“We understand supply and demand factors impact the cost of natural gas, but we are also mindful of the regulatory actions that contribute to increased costs. As such, we encourage the Commission’s adoption of Item 24, Modification of Timing of Electric and Gas Climate Credits, at the February 2, 2023 Voting Meeting. We also encourage the Commission’s review of any other available options to reduce the financial burden on of increasing natural gas costs on California’s ratepayers.”

Utility experts further stressed the need, backing up what counties and Senate Republicans have been asking CPUC for.

“Prices are likely to remain higher than usual for awhile, but they’re going to go down as temperatures warm up,” explained Modesto-based utility advisor Carl Lobo to the Globe on Monday. “People need help now, and even if that only affects bills next month, it can still be a big relief for people heating up their homes.”

CPUC is currently deciding on if credits should be released early, with a likely decision expected on February 2nd.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Evan Symon
Spread the news:


5 thoughts on “Senate Republicans Call For CPUC To Alleviate High Natural Gas Prices

  1. Take the damn regulations and restrictions off gas wells and let the production increase! Governor Climate Change and his environmentalist nut jobs can shove their “green energy” where the sun don’t shine! My PG&E bill is twice what is was a year ago.

  2. “The credit, which typically applies around $60-$100 to offset gas bills beginning in April, comes from gas companies buying carbon permits through the state, with payments trickling down to users.”
    Somebody is going to have to explain this to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *