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CA Urges Feds To Probe Gas Companies, Increases Rebates

Help for skyrocketing gas bills is on the way. Credits ranging from $90 to $120 will appear on utility bills as soon as March.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking federal authorities to investigate the recent spike in natural gas prices — an increase that has been evident to many Californians as their utility bills skyrocket. Households across the state opened their January gas bills last week to find their gas bills tripled in a single month.

“Since late November 2022, wholesale natural gas prices throughout the West have risen to alarming levels that greatly exceed prices in the rest of the country,” Newsom wrote Monday in a letter to Willie Phillips, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Utility providers had cautioned California customers to expect January gas bills totaling twice or more than what they paid for the same period in 2022. Even so, the spike exceeded the forecasts. The companies cited an unprecedented confluence of circumstances, including a recent cold snap, pipeline constraints associated with maintenance work in Texas, low gas storage in the Pacific region, and increased transportation rates.

Newsom characterized the cost spike as “extreme and unexpectedly high.”

“I, therefore, ask that FERC immediately focus its investigatory resources on assessing whether market manipulation, anticompetitive behavior, or other anomalous activities are driving these ongoing elevated prices in the western gas markets,” Newsom wrote. “And, if warranted, I ask that FERC bring its full enforcement powers and resources to bear to protect customers.”

At the state level, help is on the way. Credits ranging from $90 to $120 will appear on gas and electric bills as soon as March after the California Public Utilities Commission voted Thursday to accelerate the California Climate Credit, according to the governor’s office. The credit represents the consumer’s share of payments from the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and was previously scheduled to be granted in April by natural gas companies, according to CalMatters.

The $90 to $120 credit will be applied to residential utility bills starting in March for customers of PG&E, Southern California Edison, SDG&E and SoCalGas, according to Newsom. Customers of Bear Valley, Liberty, PacifiCorp and Southwest Gas will also get an accelerated credit, and the amount received will vary.

The public utilities commission and the California Energy Commission will hold a hearing Tuesday with market experts to examine the causes and impacts of the gas price increase.

“Millions of California families are opening their utility bills to sticker shock — and we’re taking action now to provide relief to help with those high gas bills,” Newsom said in a news release.

“We know this provides only temporary relief from soaring bills. That’s why I’m asking the federal government to use its full authority to investigate the spike in natural gas prices and take any necessary enforcement actions. We’re going to get to the bottom of this because Californians deserve to know what’s behind these exorbitant bills.”

Article from https://patch.com/california/northridge/s/iklgi/ca-urges-feds-to-probe-gas-companies-increases-rebates

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Peace and Healing Centers

L.A. is piloting a program to create physical spaces where communities with high rates of pollution, poverty, and violence can go to heal.

  • Why it matters: The nine Peace and Healing centers are located in L.A. REPAIR Zones, which stands for Reforms for Equity and Public Acknowledgement of Institutional Racism. Half of Angelenos living in poverty in overcrowded areas live in these zones. About 87% of people living in these zones are people of color, according to the city’s Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department, or LA Civil Rights, which launched the $2 million program.
  • The backstory: The centers will offer 20 hours a week of free healing programs tailored to the needs of their communities.
  • Why now: “There’s so much trauma in our communities right now,” said Capri Maddox, executive director of LA Civil Rights and a board trustee for Southern California Public Radio. She says with gun violence, police brutality, and economic stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, people need spaces to heal.

Is there a center near me?

Here’s a list of the Peace and Healing centers:

  1. Para Los Niños in the South LA REPAIR Zone.
  2. Volunteers of America Los Angeles  (VOALA) in the Southeast LA REPAIR Zone.
  3. Bryant Temple AME Community Development Corporation in the West Adams, Leimert Park, and Baldwin Village REPAIR Zone.
  4. Central City Neighborhood Partners (CCNP) in the Westlake REPAIR Zone.
  5. YMCA LA in the Wilmington and Harbor Gateway REPAIR Zone.
  6. Proyecto Pastoral in the Boyle Heights REPAIR Zone.
  7. Creating Justice LA in the Skid Row REPAIR Zone.
  8. El Nido Family Center in Arleta-Pacoima REPAIR Zone
  9. El Nido Family Center in Mission Hills – Panorama City – North Hills REPAIR Zone.

Read more about it here.

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LAPD Cadet Program Applications

Interested in joining the LAPD Youth Cadet Program? Applications are currently open to join this program designed to offer youth an opportunity to develop skills that will help them throughout their lives, while working with one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the country. The program is offered at each of the 21 community police stations across the city, as well as at seven specialized divisions and applications are due by February 22, 2023. Click here to view the application and read more about this incredible opportunity.

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LASAN Launches OrganicsLA

Effective immediately, Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) customers should use their green bin to dispose of all food scraps and food-soiled paper, along with their existing yard waste. To help residents start collecting food scraps, the City is providing 2-gal kitchen pails. These pails are available for pick-up at participating distribution sites, one pail per household, while supplies last. Residents can start making appointments to pick up their pails through the LASAN’s scheduling system. For residents who require ADA accessibility, pails can be requested for delivery.

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Relief Resources for Natural Gas Bills

In an effort to help combat the rising prices and ease the burden on customers, SoCalGas is offering accessible tools to help cut down on energy usage and help lower your bills amidst the rising costs. Currently, they are encouraging customers to sign up for weekly Bill Tracker Alerts to monitor gas consumption, take steps to reduce usage, and avoid bill surprises. In addition, eligible customers may also sign up for a Level Pay Plan, which averages their annual natural gas use and costs over 12 months.  There are also a number of assistance programs that range from past due bill forgiveness, a bill discount through the CARE program, and free energy efficiency home improvements through the Energy Savings Assistance Program that may help customers better manage the sudden increase.

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Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count – Sign up to volunteer now

The annual homeless count for our area will take place on Wed. January 25 at 8 pm for Districts 1-5, with deployment from 555 W. Redondo Beach Blvd. Use this link to sign up as a volunteer and recruit one or two friends or family to go with you. On Thurs. January 26 at 8 pm the count for Districts 6, 7, and 8 will take place, with deployment from the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, 10950 S. Central Avenue. Sign up here.

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Resubscribe for City Council Committees Agendas

A number of City Council Committees have been re-formed with new names, so if you were previously subscribed to receive emails about the Committee meetings, you should sign up again for the Committees with the new names.

To keep track of the work of the City Council and its Committees, such as Budget, Finance and Innovation, Housing and Homelessness, and Planning and Land Use Management Committee, click on the link to subscribe to your Committee(s) of interest: https://lacity.gov/government/subscribe-agendas/city-council

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Harbor Gateway North Neighborhood Team Program

When a disaster occurs, you and your neighbors will be the first responders!

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DATE/TIME: 1st Thursday, February 2023 – July 2023, 7-9 PM

  • Feb 2nd: Neighborhood Preparedness & Organization
  • March 2nd: Personal and Family Preparedness
  • April 7th: Responding to a Disaster in Your Neighborhood
  • May 4th: Using Two-Way Radios to Efficiently Communicate
  • June 1st: Disaster First-Aid and Medical Triage
  • July 6th: Neighborhood Security and Situational Awareness

This module will introduce area stakeholders to neighborhood organizing with the Ready Your LA Neighborhood (RYLAN) Program, the essential response skills taught by the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training, and how we put it all together with the Neighborhood Team Program (NTP).

The program assists neighborhoods through the process of identifying resources and risks and the best places to set up Neighborhood Staging Areas and Family Reunification Centers, identifying neighborhood members with usable skills, beginning the process of team formation, and putting that overall plan into practice.

Bookmark https://www.prepareHarborGateway.org this will be your new homepage for all things Disaster Preparedness and Neighborhood Response.

Please plan to join the Zoom Meeting 15 minutes before the start time so we can work out any issues you might have ahead of time.

You will need to register on this Eventbrite to receive the email invite for the Zoom Meeting and instructions on how to join.

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Mayor Bass Declares State of Emergency over Storm Damage

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass on Friday declared a state of emergency over storm damage after the city was pummeled by rain.

Mayor Karen Bass declared a state of emergency Friday after the greater Los Angeles area was pummeled with rain, causing flooding, roadway damage, and deaths in California.

The declaration, effective immediately, directs the city’s Emergency Operations Organization to take steps to protect life and property and requests that Gov. Gavin Newsom waive regulations to assist response and recovery efforts. Bass also called for funds under the California Disaster Assistance Act and for the state to expedite local access to other disaster relief programs and resources.

Los Angeles saw a significant amount of rain early in the week, and the area is expected to get more throughout the weekend. Most of Los Angeles County saw between 1-6 inches of rain over the last seven days, with some areas, like Topanga and Sepulveda Canyons, seeing nearly 8 inches. Downtown Los Angeles received around 5.04 inches of rain over the last week, and the San Gabriel Valley reached nearly 7 inches in parts. The San Fernando Valley varied with areas seeing between 4 and nearly 8 inches of rain.

The California storms proved deadly and devastating for the state’s infrastructure. At least 19 people have died amid the intense storms, the Los Angeles Times reported. It’s a number that is likely to grow, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. These deaths have been in Santa Cruz, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Tulare, and more.

In Los Angeles, the rain significantly damaged many roads and buildings, including a massive sinkhole in Chatsworth that swallowed two cars.

The region was expected to see more rain starting Friday night and lasting through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service for Los Angeles and Oxnard.

The next storm beginning Saturday is expected to “further cripple the city’s ability to mitigate cascading impacts of the continuous storms,” according to the declaration.

“Based upon the above events, there exists the potential that said incidents are likely to become beyond the control of the normal services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of the regularly constituted branches and departments of the city government,” it reads.

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