The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Skyrocketing Natural Gas Bills in California

Jan 23, 2023

California natural gas companies recently declared to their customers that their January gas bills could double. These companies point out that the unit wholesale price of natural gas more than quadrupled over one year and tripled over only one month. They claim that they naturally have to increase what they charge to their customers. For example, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) would jack up a household’s monthly bill from $65 last January to $160 this January, and a $130 bill would be more like $315.

Their excuses for suddenly jacking up their bills by 250%, if not more, are endless, including sinking inventories, supply constraints, high rainfalls, and colder-than-usual weather. These companies argue that a cold and wet winter increases the demand for natural gas used in heating and powering gas stoves.

But the duration of this bad California weather has been no longer than one month. At the same time, wholesale natural gas prices have been dropping in other regions of the United States, presumably because of warmer weather. As a result, the demand in the rest of the country should have been decreasing. So, there should not be any overall shortage of natural gas to justify such high prices.

Indeed, the American Gas Association, a trade organization of these very gas companies, admitted that the U.S. “has more than enough natural gas to satisfy the current level of exports and more while keeping prices affordable and stable for natural gas customers,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

So, why are the natural gas prices in California skyrocketing? The answer is simple. The filthy rich are using any excuse and every opportunity to rip off workers to get even richer at every turn, this time through skyrocketing gas prices. Their excuse is no more than Hollywood-style nonsense.