LB Celebrates 100 Years of Gas Utility Service

Submitted by LB Utilities
A Long Beach Gas Holder behind the Long Beach Municipal Airport in late 1920s.

Long Beach customers are offered the lowest-cost natural gas rates in all California

Today, Long Beach Utilities celebrates 100 years of delivering exceptional natural gas utility service to the community, with Long Beach residents today paying the lowest natural gas rates in California and with the greatest price protection in the entire state.

Beginning in 1900, various private natural gas utilities provided manufactured gas to customers in Long Beach. With the discovery of oil in 1921, natural gas became a new locally available resource. In 1923, unsatisfied with high rates charged by private utility companies, Long Beach voters overwhelmingly approved, by an 8-2 margin, the establishment of a city-owned natural gas utility to provide service at less cost to Long Beach residents and businesses. On May 24, 1924, the city’s municipal gas utility began full service to all natural gas customers in Long Beach and Signal Hill.

“It is gratifying to know that we have fulfilled the trust and met the expectations of Long Beach voters 100 years ago as they sought natural gas service at reasonable rates and today our residential customers pay the lowest natural gas rates in California,” says Chris Garner, General Manager of Long Beach Utilities. “In addition, our customers can rest assured that newly contracted price protection will prevent the reoccurrence of the high natural gas bills that were seen in the winter of 2022.”

Long Beach Utilities now operates the largest municipal natural gas utility in the state of California and the seventh largest in the country, serving more than 500,000 residents. Natural gas is served safely and reliably, and Long Beach Utilities provides continual maintenance and improvement of its network of 1,800 miles of underground natural gas pipelines and nearly 150,000 gas meters.

“I am thrilled to celebrate the 100 years of our natural gas utility. As a community-owned utility rather than a privately-owned utility, the utility’s primary mission is to provide excellent and reliable service, not to generate a profit for outside shareholders,” says Naomi Rainey, President of the Board of Utilities Commissioners. “This commitment to excellence has been successfully achieved by the thousands of our dedicated employees over the past century, as they have each contributed to the provision of an essential, quality-of-life service to our community. Likewise, the Board of Utilities Commission continues its focus on the best interests of our ratepayers.”

As a municipal utility, Long Beach Utilities’ natural gas rates and policies are established by the Board of Utilities Commission, consisting of five residents of Long Beach. The City Charter requires Long Beach rates to be comparable to the rates charged by surrounding gas utilities for similar types of service. In the region, the Southern California Gas Company is the only other natural gas utility providing similar service and serves as the market benchmark. The City of Long Beach natural gas service territory includes the cities of Long Beach and Signal Hill, and sections of surrounding communities including Lakewood, Bellflower, Compton, Seal Beach, Paramount, and Los Alamitos. For more information on natural gas prices, rebates, assistance programs, and helpful tools to estimate your bill, visit LBUtilities.org or call (562) 570-5700.

 

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