Finally, some good news about your home heating bill.

California’s largest natural gas utility says bills should be significantly lower this month due to market forces. A regulatory move announced Thursday will also help millions of Californians save money.

“After unprecedented highs due to West Coast market conditions, market prices for natural gas have dropped, resulting in a 68% decrease for SoCalGas core customers, when compared to prices seen in January,” SoCalGas said in a statement on its website.

If a customer’s gas bill was $300 in January, the same usage should result in a bill totaling $135 in February, SoCalGas said.

Gas Procurement Prices Monthly Price

MonthEffectiveCore Procurement Gas Price (Cents Per Therm)

Natural gas consumption peaked in late December as a winter storm delivered heavy snow and brutally cold temperatures to many parts of the U.S.

The weather, along with several other factors, caused gas supplies to plunge, leading to a dramatic spike in rates, particularly in the Western U.S., according to Energy Information Administration.

California customers have seen their gas bills soar to two or three times (or more) what they paid last January.

On Thursday, California’s Public Utility Commission directed gas companies to issue Climate Credits immediately rather than wait until April when they typically appear on gas bills.

“It’s 48 degrees in my home because of the $600 bill I received on (my) limited budget,” one senior citizen, who was forced to shut off her home heat, told the commission during its virtual meeting. “It’s outrageous and my neighbors are suffering in the same way.”

Those credits, which range from $43 to $56 based on your utility provider, come from money generated by California’s cap-and-trade program.

Even with these two helpful developments, SoCalGas encourages customers to take these measures to reduce their gas usage:

-Lower your thermostat three to five degrees, which can save up to 10 percent on heating costs, SoCalGas said.
-Wash clothes in cold water.
-Consider turning down the temperature on your water heater.
-Limiting the use of non-essential natural gas appliances such as spas and fireplaces.
-Installing proper caulking and weather-stripping, which can save roughly 10 to 15 percent on heating and cooling bills, SoCalGas said.