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Southern California Gas Company Bills in Question

Image is of a woman sitting in front of a laptop with an accounting program open, holding a calculatorIf some Culver City residents found themselves questioning the accuracy of their Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) bills over the last couple of years, there might have been good reason.   State regulators are considering possible fines against the natural gas company for purported faulty billing practices.

According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the problems mostly occurred between June 2015 and May 2016.   The allegedly affected area involves a large portion of southern California, including all areas of Culver City Real Estate. Martin Feinberg, Realtor, is interested in learning what the investigation discovers.

The inquiry will specifically look into whether SoCalGas violated billings regulations. The CPUC believes that the company repeatedly failed to deliver timely monthly bills to 47,000 customers during the winter of 2015-16. It also believes that they extended the billing period for almost 140,000 customers in November and December 2015, and to over 13.57 million customers from 2014 to 2016.

Besides that, the CPUC also alleges that SoCalGas estimated 9.29 million gas bills between 2014 and 2016 rather than billing for actual usage. The practice of estimating large numbers of bills is contrary to the CPUC’s desires for customer service.

The CPUC relates that the penalty consideration case against SoCalGas stems from the conclusions of a commission staff investigation. The investigation was started after the commission received almost 700 billing-related consumer complaints.

SoCalGas spokeswoman Melissa Bailey said that the company is cooperating fully with the investigation and expects to be found innocent of any wrongdoing. She states, “SoCalGas is committed to providing our customers with timely and accurate bills. We have been notified of the CPUC’s order and will cooperate with the investigation. The investigation concerns a small percentage of bills during a specific time period.”

She goes on to say, “Although we are still in the preliminary stages of review, SoCalGas expects to present facts and arguments demonstrating that SoCalGas did not violate its tariffs, that fines/penalties are not warranted, and that other proposed corrective actions are not necessary.”

An administrative law judge will listen to testimony from everyone involved in the case and will prepare a recommendation for consideration by the CPUC’s five commissioners. If necessary the recommendation could include fines and penalties of up to $50,000 per each day of a continuing violation of the law.

Martin Feinberg, Culver City Realtor, hopes that the issue can be resolved quickly and fairly.

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