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San Diego natural gas bills are sharply lower this year

San Diego utility bills may be higher because it’s winter, but those bills are down sharply from a year ago.

Last January, bills skyrocketed for San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) more than 900,000 natural gas customers, as a combination of cold weather and short supply pushed the cost of the commodity into record territory.

That changed this year for several reasons.


There is more natural gas in storage this year. In 2022, a colder than normal autumn helped draw down supplies before the coldest weather hit last winter.

That sustained cold spell also prompted customers to use more natural gas, pushing the retail price up.

Also, a major natural gas pipeline that brought the fuel into Southern California was out of service a year ago, but the pipeline is operating again.

“Last year, the cost of, the all-in price for gas, was $5.11 (per therm). Today it’s $2.14 for that same therm (the measurement used to track gas usage),” said Anthony Wagner, a spokesman for SDG&E. “And that represents an 86% reduction in the overall cost to our residential customer.”

The average SDG&E natural gas customer had a bill of about $225 during the first month of last year. That average fell by more than half to about $96 in January 2024.


SDG&E’s 1.4 million electric customers are also getting an 11% reduction — about $14 — on a typical bill.

“That savings stems from two things. First, we were able to lower costs and we had more electrical sales,” Wagner said.

The savings — which come out of the delivery portion of the bill — are available to both the utility’s customers and customers who buy their power from the region’s two community choice aggregators.

A typical electricity bill is about 50% delivery charges, 35% for the cost of the commodity and 15% for public purpose programs and taxes, according to SDG&E.

But the utility said the savings may not last through the summer.

The California Public Utilities Commission is expected to make a decision by mid-year about SDG&E’s bid to raise rates as part of the company’s regular general rate request.