LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced a new conservation notification program designed to reduce consumers' natural gas use to lower the risk of possible natural gas and electricity shortages this winter. Beginning December 1, 2016, a "SoCalGas Advisory" will be issued by SoCalGas under specific conditions, such as when demand for natural gas is projected to potentially exceed supply. Similar to the "Flex Alert" program used by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), which issues calls for consumers to reduce electricity usage during high-demand periods, SoCalGas Advisories will ask customers to reduce their natural gas use. The program was launched to help address state agencies' concerns about regional energy reliability this winter due to the moratorium on injection operations at Aliso Canyon.
"With the limited availability of natural gas from the Aliso Canyon storage facility at this time, there is less natural gas locally to heat homes and produce electricity, particularly during high-usage periods," said Lisa Alexander, SoCalGas' vice president of customer solutions and communications. "This new conservation program can not only help families save money, it could also help address the risk of regional electricity and heating outages this winter."
SoCalGas customers will be asked to sign up to receive SoCalGas Advisory notifications by email or text. If a SoCalGas Advisory is called, customers will be asked to conserve by lowering their thermostats to 68 degrees or below, waiting a day to use natural gas appliances and washing clothes in cold water when possible.
In Southern California more than 95 percent of homeowners use natural gas for heat and hot water. In addition, approximately 60 percent of electricity used in Southern California is generated with natural gas. In past years, Aliso Canyon storage facility has played a key role in supplying reliable, low-cost natural gas to both small and large customers in the LA Basin. Gas withdrawn from Aliso also fuels 17 Southern California power plants, making this facility vital to electric grid reliability. Aliso Canyon helps reduce the risk of interruptions that could impact a wide range of customers during the winter season. Thus, the California Public Utilities Commission called for the SoCalGas Advisory program as part of the state's ongoing efforts to promote natural gas reliability this winter.
In addition to alerts, the program will also include a pilot test to evaluate the effectiveness of offering rebates as incentives to motivate customers to use less natural gas during a SoCalGas Advisory; the pilot program will be offered on a limited basis to select groups of customers.
SoCalGas is also encouraging customers to save energy and money by using its online analysis tools. To understand their energy usage and charges, customers can log in or register for My Account at socalgas.com and visit the "Ways to Save" section where they can compare bills, analyze their gas usage, and create customized energy savings plans.
The more than 5.7 million SoCalGas customers who have Advanced Meters are able to access even more detailed information about their hourly and daily gas usage and costs through the company's "Analyze Usage" online tool available within the "Ways to Save" section of My Account. These customers are also eligible to sign up for weekly Bill Tracker Alerts—texted to their phones or sent via email—to track their projected gas bill during their billing cycle. More information on enrolling in Bill Tracker Alerts and other billing tools is located at socalgas.com/pay-bill/my-account.
More information on the SoCalGas Advisory program may be found at socalgas.com/advisory.
About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.
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SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.