• Re: Thank Joe Biden - Your natural gas bills to jump shockingly high' a

    From K Bass@21:1/5 to governor.swill@gmail.com on Mon Jan 9 20:45:26 2023
    XPost: ca.politics, alt.atheism, sac.politics
    XPost: talk.politics.guns

    In article <sro1ug$84j8$19@news.freedyn.de>
    governor.swill@gmail.com wrote:

    ...Cut Democrat salaries. Let them bear the offset for their poor decisions.

    Southern California residents, get ready for a severe case of
    sticker shock as your natural gas bills across the region soar
    more than double this winter, according to the region’s two
    chief utility companies.

    Southern California Gas Company — a subsidiary of Sempra Energy
    that serves more than 21.8 million customers in Central and
    Southern California — along with Long Beach Utilities, the
    city’s independent gas provider, recently warned customers to
    prepare for unavoidable increases in their gas bills this month.

    “There’s no easy way to put this: January bills are likely to be
    shockingly high,” SoCalGas said in a Thursday, Dec. 29
    announcement. “As a result, our customers can expect to see
    higher gas bills in the coming weeks.”

    Long Beach Utilities put out a similar statement on Wednesday,
    Jan. 4.

    Then on Jan. 6 SoCalGas announced a $1 million contribution to
    the Gas Assistance Fund, its program to help lower income
    customers pay their natural gas bills. Gillian Wright, senior
    vice president and chief customer officer at the utility, said,
    “We know that these higher prices have a real impact on our

    SoCalGas rates are expected to more than double over the cost of
    last winter. If a customer’s natural gas bill totaled $130 last
    winter, for example, that household can expect a $315 bill this
    winter, according to the gas company. And the average Long Beach
    single-family residential customer should prepare for an
    increase of $200 or more on their bill, that city’s utility said.

    “Facing the highest natural gas prices in Long Beach’s history,
    Long Beach Utilities took swift action to mitigate the impact on
    customers as much as possible,” the department said. “These
    actions will save customers $10 million and bring the average
    bill in at about 4 percent less than those of SoCalGas.”

    Though gas bills tend to increase slightly during the winter as
    more gas is used to combat cold weather, both companies
    attributed the rate increases to corresponding hikes in the
    market cost of natural gas — which, for a slew of interconnected
    reasons including the California drought, unexpected severe cold
    snaps across the country, and Russia’s war in Ukraine has jumped
    about 128% since November.

    “Our customers are understandably shocked by these high market
    prices suddenly experienced throughout Southern California,”
    Long Beach Utilities General Manager Chris Garner said in its
    announcement. “While there are legitimate market forces that
    have resulted in the cost increase, that does not ease the
    financial impact to our residents, who rely on natural gas to
    heat their homes, cook their food and warm their showers.”

    Since late November, lower-than-usual temperatures have
    stretched from Western Canada to California, fueling an
    increased demand for natural gas. Natural gas consumption in
    both residential and consumer sectors throughout California and
    the Pacific Northwest was up 23% in the first three weeks of
    December, according to the U.S. Energy Information

    To make matters worse, natural gas supply has not kept pace with
    the increased demand and U.S. natural gas exports to Europe are
    up significantly, putting an even greater strain on availability.

    “Europe relies heavily on Russian gas for its energy needs —
    especially during the wintertime with heating,” said Brian Peck,
    the University of Southern California’s Transnational Law and
    Business Center director in a Thursday, Jan. 5 interview. “And
    so as part of the U.S.-led effort to provide Western support for
    Ukraine, they have asked Europe to wean itself off of reliance
    on Russian gas.”

    Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed a deal with the
    European Union to increase American exports of liquified natural
    gas to Europe by 15 billion cubic meters. The deal came after
    both the U.S. and Britain issued bans on Russian oil — and
    pressured the EU to join the effort to undercut a major source
    of Russian revenue.

    But for the EU, which gets more than 40% of its liquified
    natural gas from Russia — an outright ban on the fuel wasn’t
    possible without major economic consequences for its residents.
    Biden’s deal to expand gas shipments to the EU, Peck said, aimed
    to help wean the collection of countries off of Russian natural
    gas over the next five years.

    “The U.S. has pledged to support exports of liquefied natural
    gas to help Europe wean itself off and become less reliant on
    Russian oil, which would then decrease gas revenues to Russia’s
    regime,” Peck said. “(It also) help(s) insulate Europe from
    Russia’s restrictions on gas until Europe can wean itself off
    the supply.”

    International relations aren’t the only factor stressing the
    supply of natural gas in Southern California. Along with the new
    year, the state celebrated a much more grim milestone: Its
    fourth year of severe drought.

    Though the recent storms have brought much-needed water to the
    state’s reservoirs, the situation remains bleak — with the
    Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors recently
    declaring a regional drought emergency, and asking its 26 member
    water agencies to consider implementing mandatory water
    conservation measures, in early December.

    Though a majority of California’s electricity is still generated
    using natural gas, according to the state’s Energy Commission,
    about 10.2% of all California electricity is created with
    hydropower. The state’s shrinking water supply, though, has
    forced an even heavier reliance on natural gas for electricity
    production in recent years.

    “We’ve seen a lot of reservoirs and dams that produce
    hydroelectricity struggling because of the drought,” said Long
    Beach Utilities spokesperson Lauren Gold Howland on Thursday.
    “There’s been more natural gas used to create electricity
    because of that.”

    And because 90% of California’s natural gas supply is imported —
    largely from West Texas, the Rocky Mountains, and the Four
    Corners area — the state relies heavily on the health of a vast
    interstate of transport pipelines to receive its share of the

    Long Beach is slightly insulated from that issue with a few
    local natural gas suppliers, Gold Howland said, but those
    sources only account for a mere fraction of what’s needed to
    serve the whole city.

    Capacity along that crucial interstate pipeline has suffered in
    recent months, according to the U.S. Energy Information
    Administration (EIA), as wholesale suppliers in West Texas, one
    of California’s main importers, have dealt with a series of
    maintenance issues.

    A fire last June at Freeport LNG — one of Texas’ major liquified
    natural gas exports terminals — shut down that hub’s operations.
    Officials there have set, and then pushed back, a full
    reopening several times. The company most recently estimated a
    March 2023 operational restart.

    And several other pipelines were shut down to undergo
    maintenance for normal wear and tear, according to Gold Howland.

    “That makes a big difference on how much gas can be coming into
    the state,” she said.

    Natural gas storage capacity in California’s underground
    reservoirs — three of which are in the Los Angeles area — has
    also been greatly reduced in recent years.

    That’s partially due to the consequences of the massive natural
    gas leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility in 2015, the
    biggest natural gas leak in U.S. history.

    The Aliso Canyon facility shut down completely following the
    2015 incident that released about 100,000 tons of methane and
    other chemicals into the air, and resulted in hundreds of
    lawsuits that cascaded into a $1.8 billion accord in 2021.
    SoCalGas and Sempra Energy agreed to settle claims filed by more
    than 35,000 victims.

    Two years later, the California Public Utilities Commission and
    Department of Conservation reopened the facility at greatly
    reduced capacity.

    “The issue there is still kind of a residual impact from the
    leaks that they had a few years back,” Gold Howland said. “It
    took a toll on the storage fields — and they’re trying to
    recover, basically.”

    But the problem isn’t limited to Aliso Canyon or Southern

    Natural gas levels in storage facilities across the Pacific
    Region — which includes California, Washington state, and Oregon
    — were 25% lower in December than a year earlier, according to
    the EIA, and 30% below the five-year average. “In Northern
    California, Pacific Gas and Electric’s injections, to rebuild
    natural gas inventories, have not kept pace with previous
    summers,” the EIA added.

    SoCalGas and Long Beach Utilities, meanwhile, assured consumers
    that the bill increases won’t spike their own profits — and
    offered a series of tips to help consumers prepare for the
    inflated January bills.

    Both companies advised natural gas users to lower their
    thermostats three to five degrees — which can result in up to a
    10% reduction in heating costs. Washing clothes in cold water,
    limiting hot showers, turning down the temperature on your water
    heater, and limiting use of non-essential natural gas appliances
    may also help slightly.

    “Resources are available to help customers manage higher bills,
    including payment plan options and reduced rates for seniors,
    those with disabilities and other income-qualified customers,”
    Long Beach Utilities said. Information about those programs is
    available on that department’s website.

    SoCalGas also has a number of financial assistance programs to
    help customers who qualify manage higher bills — which include
    past due bill forgiveness, bill discounts, and free energy
    efficiency home improvements through its Energy Savings
    Assistance Program. More information on those programs are also
    available on the company’s website.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    <https://www.ocregister.com/2023/01/06/your-natural-gas-bills-to- jump-shockingly-high-across-region-socalgas-warns/>

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