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Thursday, Sep 29, 2022
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L.A.’s Rare Cold Snap Causing Natural Gas Prices to Surge Up

Los Angeles area residents who moved out West to escape cold winters may feel like they never left home.


Record low temperatures that have enveloped the region are expected to soon create an East Coast-like spike in home heating prices for natural gas in Southern California, while electricity prices are expected to remain insulated from the bump.


Single-family homeowners supplied by Southern California Gas Co. will pay an average of $90 to $100 per month this winter for natural gas, up from $67 per month last winter, said Peter Hidalgo, a spokesman for the Gas Co.


“They come out here to escape the cold but Southern California does have an occasional actual winter,” Hidalgo said. “That appears to be the case this year.”


Southern California Gas Co. paid 72 cents per British thermal unit in November and managed to find fuel at 61 cents per thermal unit for December. (These fluctuations are passed onto customers.)


Starting in January, however, the company expects prices will increase beyond November rates and continue to climb through March.


Winter electricity bills for Southern California Edison’s 4.6 million customers will remain relatively stable, officials said, because the utility, a unit of Edison International, generates its power from nuclear, coal and hydro plants it owns and operates. It buys additional power from the plants generating electricity with reusable energy and natural gas.


The rise in natural gas prices will not be enough to have an impact on electricity prices, which Edison says will remain stable at about $69 per month (or 12.6 cents per kilowatt hour) for a single-family home through 2005.


The utility doesn’t break down averages for winter and summer months, but officials said summer bills are about 33 percent higher due to the use of air conditioning units.


“We believe, at least at this time, we will not see any substantial change in customer rates next year,” said Steve Conroy, a spokesman for Edison.

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