Calling an Investigation on SoCalGas Price Gouging

Last week, PSR-LA joined 20 other groups urging LA City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto to investigate Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) for potential price gouging and market manipulation that enriched its parent company, Sempra Energy. 

While gas prices typically increase during peak cold conditions, western states saw a steeper wholesale gas increase than the rest of the county. Specifically in Southern California, ratepayers relying on SoCalGas saw their bills increase by $176 between January 2022- January 2023. In comparison, the average PG&E customer saw their bills increase by $44 during the same period. Meanwhile, Sempra made $2.9 billion in profit. 


A hub for Southern California Gas Co. infrastructure at the company’s storage facility in Playa del Rey, with the Ballona Wetlands in the background. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Despite the massive increase in gas prices, SoCalGas seeks another rate hike. The company has applied to the California Public Utilities Commission for a rate increase that will increase bills by 13.7% on average. For this reason, among others, “we need the Los Angeles City Attorney to lead its own investigation for the City of Los Angeles to defend and protect struggling Angelenos facing doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled gas utility bills.” Families should not be forced to choose between keeping food on the table and keeping the lights on.

Customers deserve relief and answers as to why their bills rose the most in California. It is absurd that SoCalGas is now seeking a rate hike that would increase bills to pass the costs of the aging gas system and its risks onto ratepayers," - Alex Jasset, Nuclear Threats & Energy Justice Manager with Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles (PSR-LA)

Gas market volatility underscores the urgency to decarbonize buildings and our energy system to deliver savings to households while protecting public health and the climate. SoCalGas customers are rightfully outraged at high gas bills, and we know that these spikes disproportionately affect low-income households who also suffer the highest rent, energy, and pollution burdens. That’s why we are firmly committed to transitioning our communities off gas and holding utilities like SoCalGas accountable.

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