Southern California Gas System Can Meet Needs of All Customers, Company Official Tells U.S. House Subcommittee

Oct 16, 2001, 01:00 ET from Southern California Gas Company

    LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co.'s (The
 Gas Company) natural gas pipeline system has enough capacity to meet the needs
 of all its 5 million customers, a company official testified today before a
 Congressional subcommittee that is investigating "the barriers to expanding
 natural gas capacity and infrastructure in California."
     Lad Lorenz, director of capacity and operational planning at The Gas
 Company, told members of the subcommittee on energy policy, natural resources
 and regulatory affairs, that the company's operating history and its new
 pipeline capacity expansions prove that The Gas Company has enough capacity to
 serve its customers.
     "There have been no customer curtailments of natural gas service for the
 last 10 years on The Gas Company's system and none are projected," said
 Lorenz.  "Last year, when customers set an all-time record for natural gas use
 on the company's system, The Gas Company still had capacity -- or space -- on
 its pipelines to spare since it operated at an 87 percent load factor.
     The company also is working on several expansion projects that will
 increase its firm backbone transmission capacity by 11 percent, Lorenz added.
 Most of these projects should be completed by the end of January 2002.
     Charges that The Gas Company lacks enough capacity, often made by
 interstate pipeline companies, are without merit and promote the interests of
 these companies and not The Gas Company's customers.
     "Interstate pipeline companies are expanding so that they can directly
 serve some electric generation facilities that are being built outside of our
 service territory," said Lorenz.  "Since gas demand for these electric
 generation facilities will vary, the pipeline companies are looking for
 options to help them balance gas supply and demand using The Gas Company's
 intrastate pipeline system."
     For this reason, the interstate pipeline companies are calling for The Gas
 Company to expand its intrastate capacity, he said.  Even though The Gas
 Company's customers don't need this capacity, they would end up paying for it.
     Also testifying today are Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman
 Pat Wood, California Public Utilities Commission President Loretta Lynch, and
 California Energy Commissioner Michael Moore.
     The Gas Company is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility
 serving 18 million consumers through 5 million meters.  The company's service
 territory encompasses 23,000 square miles throughout central and Southern
 California.  The Gas Company is a 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 Company