SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — With colder temperatures this season, comes higher heating bills. PG&E says most customers can expect to see an average increase of around $50 a month — putting part of the blame on a short supply of natural gas.

One California organization says PG&E could be doing more to lower your monthly bill.

Inflation has millions of Americans tightening their wallets and mother nature isn’t going to help. According to PG&E, their customers will experience a higher heating bill from now until March.

“Prices that PG&E has been paying for natural gas have been rising and we want our customers to know that their bills may be rising as well,” said PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian.

Sarkissian says the company expects energy bills will be about 18 percent higher each month compared to this time last year. That’s because of colder temperatures, higher demand and tighter supply.

“PG&E does not control the market price of natural gas and it also does not mark up the price,” Sarkissian said.

The Utility Reform Network, also known as TURN, works to ensure affordability for customers and holds power companies accountable. Executive Director Mark Toney explained the seriousness of a heating bill going up $50 a month or more.

“You’re talking about people having to choose between heating their home, buying groceries, buying prescriptions, close for their children,” Toney said.

Toney says those tough decisions should be avoidable and that PG&E could be doing more to save you money.

“There are too many things on the monthly bills that ratepayers should not be paying, we are paying way too much for shareholders’ profit,” Toney said.

PG&E has a few suggestions for lowering your bills this winter:

  • Clear any objects away from heating vents
  • Use the cool setting on your washing machine.
  • Open window shades, or curtains during sunny days.
  • And keep your water heater set at 120 degrees.

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If you ever think that the money your being charged to heat your home is unreasonably high, Toney suggests you reach out to The California Public Utilizes Commission with your concerns.

“Electricity and heat are a necessity, they are not a luxury,” Toney said.