SoCalGas Offers Tips on Reducing Winter Gas Bills
February 2, 2017
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) 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.
Customers can find more ways to save on natural gas bills by going to: socalgas.com/winterbills or socalgas.com/facturadeinvierno (Spanish).