On October 6, 2017, SoCalGas® filed a rate request with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The request is a detailed projection of what it will cost to dependably and safely deliver affordable natural gas to our 21 million customers from 2019 to 2022. View documents related to our rate request proceeding.
2019 Rate Request
At SoCalGas, we’re committed to delivering the clean, safe, reliable, and affordable natural gas that Southern Californians deserve.
Today, more than 90 percent of residents use clean natural gas to heat their homes and water. Because about 60 percent of the state’s electricity comes from natural gas power plants, this clean fuel is also used to keep the lights on 24/7.
Our rate request will allow us to modernize and upgrade our gas infrastructure to enhance long-term reliability and safety; attract and retain highly-trained, responsive employees who serve our customers; and support the growth of more renewable, diverse energy options for our communities now and well into the future.
In submitting a rate request, we hold ourselves accountable to our customers first and foremost. That means listening to – and learning from – our customers about their needs and concerns. We will be collaborating with various stakeholders in a rigorous review of the request through a proceeding before the CPUC. We are proactively finding new ways to make bills as affordable as possible for every Southern California family we serve.
How the New Proposed Investments and Rates Would Affect Your Bill
If the rate request is approved in its entirety by the CPUC, the critical investments proposed in this rate request would increase average residential customer bills about $4.50–$7.00 per month starting in 2019. This increase is slightly less than originally projected due to a reduction in revenue requirements associated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
As a regulated utility, SoCalGas does not make a profit on gas delivered to our customers: we work to cost-effectively buy, transport, store, and distribute natural gas with savings benefiting our customers directly. That’s in part why today, SoCalGas has the second-lowest average bill among the 50 largest gas utilities in the country, and natural gas continues to rank among the most affordable sources of energy.
How the Rate Request and New Investments Benefit You
- Upgrade pipelines, compressor stations, and other infrastructure;
- Modernize pipeline and storage-monitoring technology and develop a new control center;
- Increase testing and monitoring of the more than 100,000 miles of pipeline, millions of meters, and many other elements of SoCalGas’ system; and
- Provide new gas leak detection and mitigation tools to enhance safety, increase efficiency, and improve environmental protection.
SoCalGas’ rate request supports the expansion of local California biogas projects that will help California meet its renewable energy goals. By capturing excess methane from plant and animal waste, we’re able to recycle and convert it into biogas. This gives our customers more renewable energy options to power their homes and businesses. Natural gas also allows more solar and wind resources to come online, as it provides a crucial safety net to the electric grid when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.
3. Cleaner air and greenhouse gas reductions.
SoCalGas is working to improve air quality by replacing smog-producing gasoline and diesel vehicles with clean natural gas trucks and buses—and helping other companies do the same. The proposal also includes plans to expand natural gas refueling stations in Southern California to help put more clean trucks on the road.
4. Enhanced protection of your personal data.
Keeping your information safe from cyber-attacks through improved internet security technology is crucial in the digital age. We’re investing now to upgrade our cyber infrastructure to help protect our customers’ personal information.
5. Long-term affordability.
Under the request, natural gas remains the most efficient and affordable way to heat your home and hot water, as well as fuel your cooktop and other appliances. We will continue to provide energy-efficient tools to empower our customers to reduce their consumption and monthly bill, and look for efficiencies in our own business to keep our service affordable.
What We’re Doing to Keep Natural Gas Affordable
Every Californian deserves a reasonable, transparent, and affordable price for the natural gas they use. That’s why we’re always proactively working to find ways to make energy bills as affordable as possible for our customers. We’ve cut costs and improved efficiency within our company to generate more than $120 million in savings for customers, reflected in the rate request. And, we offer energy efficiency and assistance programs to help customers save energy and money. Since 1990, our energy efficiency and rebate programs have helped families and businesses save approximately $672 million off their natural gas bills.
We will continue to keep our natural gas delivery system safe and reliable, while keeping prices as affordable as possible, by investing wisely in this important energy infrastructure.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does SoCalGas set rates?
SoCalGas does not set rates—they are determined by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) through an open, public process. SoCalGas submits a rate request to the CPUC and participates in hearings to discuss the needs and concerns of all its customers. The CPUC determines both what customers pay from 2019-2022 and how SoCalGas can invest in its infrastructure to enhance long-term reliability and safety.
The rate request does not include the cost of the natural gas customers use. SoCalGas does not profit from customers’ consumption of natural gas. This creates an incentive for SoCalGas to achieve the best natural gas price possible for our customers, and to help customers conserve energy.
2. Do new rates cover costs related to the Aliso Canyon Storage Field leak?
No. In 2015, the CPUC ordered SoCalGas to exclude all costs related to the Aliso Canyon leak from this rate request. No such costs are included.
3. How often do utilities file general rate case applications, and how long does the process take?
SoCalGas and other large investor-owned utilities in California file general rate case applications every three to four years. The CPUC oversees the proceedings, which include numerous regulatory and public hearings with testimony from ratepayer advocates, environmental groups, and others. The approval process is scheduled to take at least 12-18 months.