Ever-increasing gas bills are hardly natural

Did you notice that your natural gas bill went through the roof last month? Well, at our house we did, so I did a little research to find out why.

When many of you vote, or for those who don’t vote, you may think that what goes on in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., has little to do with your daily routines. Think again. You pay for what they think is good for you.

On the back of your natural gas bill, you will notice a “gas commodity” charge. The Southern California Gas Company explains it this way on its website: “SoCalGas does not set the price for natural gas. Instead, natural gas prices are determined by national and regional markets. SoCalGas buys natural gas in those markets on behalf of residential and small business customers, and the cost of buying that gas is billed to those customers with no markup, meaning SoCalGas does not profit from the movement of gas commodity prices.”

Basically, it’s supply and demand that dictate the cost of the gas they provide you to heat your home, heat your shower water, dry your clothes, and cook your food. As a matter of record, because of the poor energy policies of our state government and Santa Barbara County, California only produces 10 percent of the amount of natural gas needed to serve the state; the rest is imported from other states.

Meanwhile, Powering California reports that “California has the capacity to produce more than 50 percent of our in-state resources,” but those sources have been shut down as result of poorly thought-out energy polices. “Energy self-sufficiency also provides stability and protects Californians from the tumultuous geopolitical turmoil in many of the foreign countries from where we import most of our oil.”

In other words, if we use the petroleum resources under our feet, the price of natural gas will go down.

When President Joe Biden was campaigning, he “declared war” on the fossil fuel industry and immediately set about impacting the production of oil and natural gas; thus, the availability (supply) of natural gas shrank. In addition, the administration decided to deplete oil storage reserves and send gas supplies to Europe due to the war in Ukraine.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has the same energy strategy, and Santa Barbara County was way ahead of the curve on this and all but banned oil production in our county a few years ago; so, Biden would be pleased with the actions of California’s political leadership.

To put this in context, there was no gas commodity charge on my gas bill prior to Biden’s election. The first gas commodity charge appeared in January 2022, and it was $.65 per therm; in the same month of 2023 it is has risen $2.72 per therm.

At our house we use the heater for about an hour a day, have the water heater set at medium, and cook one meal a day. Our gas commodity charge was $20.83 in January 2022 and $114.36 last month for the same number of therms. Some people told me that their total bill exceeded $400 last month.

On Jan. 31, SoCalGas announced that “if a customer received a $300 bill for January usage, that same usage would result in a bill of about $135 for February usage. While prices in the Western region have significantly decreased from the prices seen in January, they remain higher than last year when the average SoCalGas residential bill for February usage was $99.” 

It appears that Biden’s fossil fuel war is really a war on retirees with fixed incomes and low/medium income voters of our state. Thus, it isn’t the uber-rich environmental elites who pay the price of these policies; it’s you and me.

My friends, many of you voted for the governor, the current Board of Supervisors majority, and our current president’s fossil fuel action plan. The gas commodity charge is just one of many ways you are paying for the incredibly irresponsible actions of the politicians you elected.

Your gas stove, home heater, dryer, and water heater are on the list of things that have been deemed demonic in the minds of the idle rich who have nothing better to do than wreak havoc on us commoners. It doesn’t matter what political party, race, gender, or age group you are in, they fully intend to force their way on you no matter how much it costs.

What better way to make their “green energy” point than to starve the supply of gasoline, diesel, and natural gas so that we will be led to believe that all-electric is the way to economic freedom. 

Once again slow-thinking politicians are not considering the supply side of producing electricity either; wind and solar power are not going to save the day.

Remember, historically once prices go up, they stay up. For those of you who keep electing these people, you have only yourself to blame.

Ron Fink writes to the Sun from Lompoc. Send a letter for publication to [email protected].

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