SAN DIEGO — San Diego residents stunned by their SDG&E bills this month will get some relief in February. The utility company announced Tuesday natural gas prices are dropping by 68 percent.
"I think it's welcome news,” says SDG&E spokesperson Anthony Wagner. Wagner explained the total gas rate for customers is going from $5.11 in January a therm to $2.77 in February.
What will that look like on your bill?
According to SDG&E, the typical residential customer's gas bill is expected to decrease to approximately $110 in February, from approximately $225 in February.
This price drop is the result of changes in the market. By law, SDG&E sells gas for what they buy it for. But, as a lot of our viewers have pointed out, natural gas prices have been dropping for some time.
CBS 8 asked Wagner why the discount didn’t come sooner. "In the residential gas market in the state of California, utilities buy their gas in certain windows. SDG&E purchases for the whole month at the end of the previous month," said Wagner.
In other words, there's a delay from when SDG&E buys gas to when they sell it to you. Wagner doesn't expect the price will jump back up in March since demand isn't as high during warmer months.
Still, not everyone is pleased. “No, because I know how easily they can raise it again,” said Margaret Espiritu.
Espiritu is one of several CBS 8 viewers sharing their bills and anger toward the utility company. This month, the 90-year-old, who lives alone on a fixed income, is paying more than $340.
She says it’s normally half that.
“I feel like I'm being gouged," she said.
Reluctantly, Espiritu plans to pay the bill in full, but there are a lot of people who aren't able to.
What options are there for your January bill?
“So, there's multiple tools available. I'll start with the ones that are income qualified. CARE qualified customers can receive as much as 30 percent on their bill,” said Wagner.
There's also state programs, as well as non-profits SDG&E is working with who may be able to provide direct bill relief.
“We understand some of our customers are frustrated. Some of them are struggling and they don't know what they're gonna do. Customers who are struggling to pay their bill-reach out to us. We'll partner with you to come up with a tailored solution and you don't have to get through this alone,” said Wagner.
For more information on programs that can help, click here.
At CBS 8, we are always Working for You and our San Diego community. If there is something you would like us to investigate, please share your idea here or email us at email@example.com.
WATCH RELATED: Natural gas prices are dropping, Why are SDG&E bills still so high?