Concerned because residents' natural gas bills doubled or tripled during the cold snap in December and January, the City Council has spearheaded a drive to change the rate structure.
The council unanimously passed a resolution last week urging the Legislature to change the rate structure, which is regulated by the Public Utilities Commission. The council also began a petition drive, which has gathered about 800 signatures toward a goal of 4,000, said Mayor Albert Perez. The city is asking other Southland communities to join the effort.
Under the current rate structure, consumers pay 35 cents a therm for gas up to 72 therms, when the price jumps to 95 cents, said Claude Delgado, Southern California Gas Co. district manager. The rates are meant to encourage conservation but made some bills more than triple during December and January, Delgado said.
On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors backed a bill by state Sen. Ralph Dills (D-Gardena) that would allow the PUC to adjust rates as needed. The gas company supports both South El Monte and Dills in their efforts, Delgado said.