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ABC30 Central Valley

State leaders work to figure out cause of higher energy bills and solutions


The power bill has doubled, even tripled in some households.

Frustrated consumers addressed energy officials to demand answers.

Alice Reynolds is the head of the California Public Utilities Commission and acknowledged families have been hurting because of high prices.

"People have experienced severe sticker shock on their energy bills," she said.

California imports 90% of its natural gas.

Panelists say price spikes between November and January were caused by extremely cold weather and higher gas demand, supply interruptions due to pipeline maintenance and lower storage inventory.

"PG&E does not mark up the price of gas," says Gillian Clegg with PG&E. "We pass through the cost of gas to customers at the same price as we buy it in the market."

PG&E officials added the drought has also impacted the gas supply because of a reduction in hydroelectric generation output.

"Price spikes were not unique to California," says Aleecia Gutierrez with the California Energy Commission. "Prices throughout the West and Southwest were elevated from December 2022 through January 2023."

Millions of Californians could see a little relief as soon as next month when energy credits worth between $90 to $120 show up on their bill.

"We recognize that was a short-term band-aid, and this is a longer-term problem," Reynolds said.

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