The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has asked the state of California to conduct an investigation into the spikes in natural gas bills the county’s residents were experiencing this month and develop a plan to prevent future spikes.
Through News Desk
The lawsuit is the result of a motion filed today by District Fifth Supervisor Kathryn Barger and co-authored by District Two Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, who will represent the county’s legislative liaison team along with the county legal team and prosecutors Directs county agencies to write a letter on behalf of the board to key leaders in the California Legislature — including the chair of the state’s Senate Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications and the chair of the Convention Committee on Utilities and Energy.
“Exorbitant natural gas price spikes are affecting our constituents’ ability to pay for the essential utilities that are keeping them warm during these cold winter months,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “We need to examine what is driving this unexpected price spike and also develop relief strategies that will reach the many people who will struggle to pay gas bills that have tripled overnight. We can’t wait for this problem to fix itself.”
“The rise in natural gas prices has had a far-reaching impact on the county, and low-income households have been disproportionately affected by the shocking and unanticipated price hikes,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “The CPUC needs to investigate the issue, and our natural gas partners need to do more to help families lower the cost of their bills. Our region’s vulnerability to fluctuations in natural gas supply is another reason why the county urgently needs to break free from its dependency on fossil fuels.”
The motion also directs the county’s team of legislative and legal experts to oversee the California Public Utilities Commission’s formal “en banc” review of the state’s natural gas utility price spikes, which will gather information from market experts while identifying causes and remedies examines customers.
The motion also directs county departments to explore financial assistance options for vulnerable communities facing higher-than-anticipated natural gas bills.
In addition, the county will seek to work with SoCalGas to raise awareness of various consumer support programs, including financial assistance, usage tracking and information, to help manage the increase in natural gas costs.
The supervisory board approved the motion 5-0.