The cost of natural gas has increased markedly, and fingers point in many directions. Santa Claritans have received bills from Southern California Gas Co. far beyond their usual monthly fees, and this has especially affected older adults on fixed incomes.
As a geriatric house call doctor, my duty is to find solutions when health care problems arise, so devising a treatment plan can lead to improvement in quality of life. This includes the realm within my patients’ homes, where the environment plays a critical role in their health.
My patients are suffering financially and medically from these bills during the winter months. I wish here to present a better understanding of what one might do to find solutions.
First, read your bill from SoCalGas carefully. Should you discuss costs and rates with anyone from the gas company, have your bill in front of you.
There should be an insert in the most recent bill envelope entitled “Apply for a Lower Rate,” which provides online addresses for applications (socalgas.com) for possible discounts. Adding “/Medical” or “/Assistance” to this address will bring you to other potential resources for help you might be eligible for.
On Jan. 24, Marisol Espinoza, public affairs manager for SoCalGas, spoke at the Santa Clarita City Council meeting concerning problems many in our valley are facing.
I reiterate what she recommended, which was to decrease your home thermostat 3-5 degrees; lower the temperature on your water heater; wash clothes in cold water; limit use of gas appliances; and install proper caulking and weather stripping in your home.
We hope these rate increases are only temporary, but for now it is extremely important those in Santa Clarita impacted by these increases act quickly to mitigate their rising bills.
Please also help those around you who might not be adept using computers.
As a community, we can bring solutions to these problems, improving everyone’s quality of life.
Dr. Gene Dorio