FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Chances are your utility bill has significantly increased over the last few months, all due to natural gas prices spiking across California and the west.
“It’s really a situation of supply and demand, the cost of natural gas has really skyrocketed,” said Jeff Smith, spokesperson with PG&E.
PG&E spokesperson Jeff Smith says customers on the west coast and mostly in California, are feeling the effects on their monthly bills.
“It’s just a really unfortunate circumstance whether despite many of these efforts customers can make we’re still seeing really high bills as a result of natural gas on the open market”, added Smith.
Tuesday, regulators in Sacramento held a hearing to try to find out why the prices are spiking and what the state can do about it.
According to the state’s major utility report, just since December, average bills for natural gas usage have surpassed all-time highs.
“The fact is that customers are really hurting here,” said Alice Busching Reynolds, with the CA Public Utilities Commission.
Frustrated customers calling into the 4-hour meeting.
“I’m a senior who wears three layers of clothes to bed and does not turn on the heat because I can’t afford it,” said one caller.
Utility representatives agreed on some of the factors leading to the increases being prolonged cold weather, natural gas pipeline constraints, and storage limitations.
Smith says customers won’t feel relief until the temperatures start to warm across the state.
“It’s a price that fluctuates daily but it’s significantly higher than it was last year. \We are here to help, and we want to work with customers… if you are concerned you can’t pay your bill if you need to be put on a payment plan. We want to work with customers to provide relief wherever we can”
The meeting today at the capital comes just one day after the governor sent a letter to the federal government asking for a formal investigation into the spiking prices.