Californians are facing yet another blow to their wallets as Southern California Edison (SCE) is seeking a 4.4% increase in electricity rates, effective June 1st. This rate hike is estimated to bring in $595.6 million. At a meeting to discuss the rising natural gas prices, SCE's Vice President of Energy Procurement and Management, William Walsh, informed the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) that the spikes in natural gas prices have also affected their operating costs.
The natural gas usage peaked in late December due to a winter storm that brought snow and extremely cold temperatures to many parts of the country. This, coupled with supply issues, caused a severe drop in gas supplies and led to a surge in home heating bills, particularly in the western US, as reported by the Energy Information Administration. California customers have seen their gas bills skyrocket to two or three times what they paid last January.
The CPUC recently directed utilities to apply Climate Credits to natural gas bills immediately instead of waiting until April. SoCalGas, California's largest natural gas utility, reports that bills should be significantly lower in February due to falling wholesale prices.