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TIME TO TURN UP THE HEAT: STATE AGENCIES NEED TO REOPEN SOCALGAS STORAGE FACILITY NOW!

Winter is here and baby, its cold outside!  Southern Californians turned up their home thermostats for the first time this year, increasing the demand for natural gas. Normally this level of demand would not be an issue. Natural gas is abundant affordable, clean energy and merely needs storage for access to our energy needs. More than 95 percent of Southern Californians use natural gas for home heating and-you probably didn’t know this-about 60 percent of the electricity used in California comes from power plants that run on natural gas. However, one of the largest storage facilities available, Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon storage facility, located in the Santa Susana Mountains near Porter Ranch, Los Angeles, has endured a prolonged closure for more than a yeardue to a serious gas leak.  The leak has now been fixed, local environmental and homeowner issues at Porter Ranch have been addressed. The utility has made comprehensive reforms to protect against another leak.  The well is sealed.  The facility is safe.  Yet Aliso Canyon is still closed and 21.6 million Southern Californians face uncertainty about the cost and reliability of their energy supply until Aliso Canyon is re-opened.
This is a problem.  In fact, SoCalGas issued a system-wide curtailment watch to large commercial and industrial customers, including electric generation plants. They also issued an advisory to homeowners this past Sunday to “dial it down”-lowering thermostats to 68 degrees, wait a day to use major gas appliances and wash laundry with cold water in order to conserve limited supplies. For now, with conservation, SoCalGas is able to provide what we need. However, severe cold weather conditions throughout the SoCalGas service territory could mean a potential for interstate supply disruptions. This could lead to a major economic burden on businesses and homes. It’s time for the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources and the California Public Utilities Commission to let SoCalGas reopen and refill the Aliso Canyon storage facility.  On November 1, SoCalGas requested regulatory approval to resume operations and approval should be granted. Further delay of the use of critical infrastructure jeopardizes the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility’s ability to provide service to more than 500 Southern California communities when they need it most. Let’s get Aliso Canyon back online before it chills our economy as well. For more information, contact Bryan Starr, Sr. Vice President, Government Affairs.

Posted on January 9, 2017

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