The Southern California Gas Co. was granted a $99.4-million rate increase Wednesday that will have the effect of raising the typical summer monthly gas bill for residential customers by about 20 cents but lower the average winter bill by 97 cents.
The uneven seasonal effect results from changes in the rates charged for different levels of usage. The Public Utility Commission called the action an interim step toward natural gas rate restructuring that will be completed Jan. 1.
The rate hike for Southern California Gas resulted from the PUC's regular review of utilities' cost to purchase natural gas. The cost has fallen sharply this year but not enough to offset a big drop in revenue from industrial customers, the gas company said.
Most of the additional $99.4 million will come from higher rates charged to industrial customers and to electric utilities that use natural gas to fuel boilers, the gas company said. Residential users will pay $7.8 million of the total.
Rates for San Diego Gas & Electric were lowered by $4 million.