LOS ANGELES, Jan. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today advised that cold weather over the past month is resulting in increased natural gas use and higher bills. The company issued tips to help Southern Californians save money on their natural gas bills this winter.
SoCalGas calculates that a typical residential bill will go from about $67 in December to about $117 in January, or about $50 higher. Colder weather, which began in late December and was frequent through most of January, is the main reason. About $45 of the typical $50 increase is due to customers using more gas during the cold weather. About $5 comes from a slightly longer billing cycle in January: 31 days compared to 29 days in December.
The price of natural gas is about 13 percent higher this month, or about 4 cents per therm. That higher natural gas price would have made the typical bill higher by about $4, except that SoCalGas' charges for transporting the gas are actually lower this month than last month, offsetting most of the impact of the higher natural gas price. The net effect of the price on a typical bill is $1.
Compared to the same time last year, a typical residential bill this January is about $25 lower—mostly because the weather during the same period last year was even colder.
SoCalGas' rates do not include costs for the Aliso Canyon incident.
During winter, most customers use three to seven times more natural gas. Heating is often the number-one energy expense for most customers during the winter and can account for more than 50 percent of the total natural gas bill. Colder weather also impacts water heaters because they must work longer and harder to heat the colder water coming in. Water heaters can account for 25 percent of natural gas use.
Here are some tips to keep natural gas bills as low as possible:
- Set your thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and 55 at night if your health permits it. Lowering your thermostat three to five degrees can save up to 10 percent on heating costs.
- Clean or replace your furnace filters according to manufacturer recommendations.
- Have your air ducts tested for leaks. Leaky ducts can cost between 10 to 30 percent in heating and cooling costs.
- Install proper caulking and weather-stripping; this can save roughly 10 to 15 percent on heating and cooling bills.
- Wash clothes in cold water to save up to 10 percent on water heating costs.
- Turn down the temperature on your water heater.
- Take shorter showers to reduce your natural gas use.
- Fix leaky faucets and pipes. Hot water leaks cause increased demand on the water heater which increases natural gas use. One drop of water per second can waste 500 gallons of hot water per year.
- Limit use of non-essential natural gas appliances such as spas and fireplaces.
Online Bill Comparison Tools and Weekly Alerts
SoCalGas encourages customers to take advantage of its easy-to-use online tools to explain their bills and help them save money. To understand their energy usage and charges, customers can log in or register for My Account at socalgas.com and select "Ways to Save" then go to "Compare Bills" and view "Bill Highlights" to see why their bills may have changed. There, customers can find energy and bill analysis tools that allow them to analyze differences between bills, understand the effects of weather on energy use, see the number of billing days on the bill, and even create customized energy savings plans.
The more than four and a half million customers who have Advanced Meters are able to access even more detailed information about their hourly and daily gas usage and costs through the "Analyze Usage" online tool within the My Account, "Ways to Save" section. These customers are also eligible to sign up for weekly Bill Tracker Alerts—texted to their phones or sent via email—to track their projected gas bill during the billing cycle. Customers can enroll in Bill Tracker Alerts and other billing and payment-related notifications through "Manage My Account," "Manage Alerts," within My Account.
About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.
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SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.