Los Angeles (CAPC) – As Californians struggle to pay exorbitant natural gas bills, utility access activists are encouraging people to contact state regulators.
Mark Tunney is the Executive Director of the Facilities Repair Network, a nonprofit organization also known as TURN that works to ensure facilities are clean, safe, and affordable.
He said people who are upset about the sudden jump in their SoCalGas bills need to call the California Public Utilities Commission meeting Thursday and express their outrage.
“We are very concerned that this is out of control and something needs to be done to mitigate this type of price hike,” he told Eyewitness News.
SoCalGas said the wholesale price of natural gas has soared this winter, now up just 128% from December to January. The company is warning customers that if your winter bill was about $130 last year, it will likely jump to about $315 this year.
Crestline resident Denise Duvall is recovering from triple bypass surgery and has lupus. These health issues keep him indoors around the clock with the thermostat set at around 75 degrees.
His last bill was $918.75.
He said, “I have to pay it.” “I have to keep the heat. It’s going to be very hard.”
Crestline’s Dave Miner just saw his gas bill reach $700.
“He takes money from my kids, he takes money from my grocery bill,” Miner said.
Tony said many Californians with medical issues qualify for programs like Medical Baseline to help lower utility costs.
“They can sign up for a medical baseline for gas and get a reduced rate and extra protection against shutdown if you fall behind on your bill,” Tony said.
Other gas saving tips?
“Turn down the thermostat if your and your family’s health allows, rely a little more on jackets and blankets, and close vents in rooms you’re not using,” Tony advises.
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