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Letters to the Editor: How did $100 natural gas bills become $500?

A Southern California Gas Co. truck.
A Southern California Gas Co. truck in Cypress on Jan. 6.
(Raul Roa / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: Asbestos was once a wonder material, prized for its versatility and durability, so we put it in everything. When we found alternatives that didn’t destroy our lungs, we banned the stuff. (“Soaring utility bill? Blame the instability of fossil fuels,” editorial, Jan. 23)

Fossil fuels are the modern asbestos. For decades, fossil fuel companies convinced us we need oil and gas because only they can provide a stable, reliable energy supply. We’ve seen the reality: Fossil fuels damage our health, the planet and our wallets, while subjecting us to the whims of a complex and hostile global market.

Thanks to renewable energy and building electrification, we can leave fossil fuels in the past. Congress and California should pass climate legislation and programs that help us embrace the alternatives even faster.

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We’ll soon regard our gas stoves and furnaces like the plaster walls of any old house, shaking our heads that we put them there in the first place.

Jessie Warme, Reseda

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To the editor: I’ll keep this short.

My gas bill for November was $100.90. For December, it was $165. For January, it’s $504, which is more than half my house payment and about one-sixth of my total monthly income.

They might as well just cut me off. And I must not be the only one.

Dean Blau, Lake Balboa

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To the editor: Never mind any other expenses I may have. While I walk around in my house in multiple sweaters, a down vest and long underwear, and the thermostat is set at 65, I will have to fork over about one-fourth of my monthly teacher’s retirement pension for this month’s heating bill.

Who else is being ripped off?

Therese H.E. Whitney, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: In January 2022, my gas bill was $80. This month, my bill is $270. This is with no change in lifestyle.

I’m 77 years old, retired and a veteran. This is an outrageous error of planning by the Southern California Gas Co. on the purchasing of natural gas for their customers.

Don Serafano, Los Alamitos

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To the editor: Yes, we are receiving inflated gas bills, and it will motivate many of us to be more conservative in our use of gas appliances.

This is what it could be like with a carbon tax on all fossil fuels. However, if that tax were passed with a 100% rebate to all consumers equally, low- and middle-income residents would be protected from the high costs, while all would be incentivized to switch to electric appliances and vehicles.

Dennis Thompson, Santa Barbara

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To the editor: Your editorial was not helpful. Rather than go into a long list of reasons to get off of fossil fuel, it should have focused solely on the problem at hand.

Why are natural gas prices so high all of a sudden? The editorial mentions a main gas line between Texas and Southern California being repaired. Is that all? Is the repair necessary now?

How will converting all appliances to electricity help? Electric companies are already raising their rates, and in order to switch over, we all would need to replace our furnaces, hot water heaters and stoves. That also would be very costly.

Barry Lowe, Costa Mesa

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