SAN DIEGO — San Diego Gas & Electric said customers can expect their energy bill to more than double this month.
The company implemented new natural gas and electric rates on Jan. 1. SDG&E says the increase reflects the rising costs of providing reliable energy services.
The most significant contributor to price hikes, according to the company, is the ongoing rise in the natural gas market. Data shows the cost per unit of natural gas has more than doubled for the month of January, increasing from $2.36 per unit in January 2022 to $5.11 per unit in January 2023.
To put this in perspective, if your peak winter gas bill was $105 last year, you can expect this months bill to be $225. For those enrolled in the CARE bill discount program, your January 2022 bill was $60, it will now increase to $130.
SDG&E said it pays suppliers to buy the gas on behalf of customers with no markup. So if the company pays $1 for natural gas in the market, it says that’s what the customers pay. According to the company, SDG&E does not make a profit from rising gas prices.
“We understand the challenges customers are facing as the cost of goods and services across the board continues to increase. While not good news, we want to make sure our customers are prepared for significantly higher winter bills, and more importantly, that there are tools and resources, including financial assistance available, given the severity of natural gas market conditions,” said SDG&E Vice President of Customer Services Dana Golan. “Please know that we are here to help and work with our customers who may be struggling financially.”
SDG&E said assistance programs are available, including bill discounts, debt relief, payment plans and energy efficiency programs. Customers can learn more about these options here.
SDG&E has encouraged customers to sign up for its Level Pay program, which helps to prevent high-bill months.
Natural gas rates change monthly based on the market price for the fuel and residential natural gas usage is typically the highest in January when weather is usually the coldest, the company explained.