Dec 19 Southern California Gas Co (SoCalGas) has
urged customers to reduce natural gas use to help lower the risk
of possible gas and electricity shortages due to what it
described as severe cold weather throughout the U.S. Southwest.
The notice, issued Sunday night, came as the utility
continues to have only limited access to fuel in its giant Aliso
Canyon gas storage facility in Los Angeles following a massive
methane leak between October 2015-February 2016.
"We did not pull any gas out of Aliso, but we had to draw
significantly on other fields to maintain system reliability,"
SoCalGas spokesman Chris Gilbride said on Monday.
In addition to residential customers, SoCalGas, a unit of
California energy company Sempra Energy, told non-core
customers, including refineries and power plants, that they may
receive a notice to curtail service.
The independent system operator, which runs the power grid
for much of the state, has not yet called on consumers to cut
back on electric consumption.
Gas demand spikes in winter due to heating of homes and
businesses, while power demand does so in summer when customers
crank up air conditioners.
California agencies have said in a report looking at the
ongoing outage of Aliso Canyon that SoCalGas could have a tough
time meeting a forecast peak demand of 5.2 billion cubic feet
per day (bcfd) on the coldest days this winter without the
Gas demand on Monday was expected to reach 4.0 bcf, with 2.9
bcf coming from pipeline imports and the remaining 1.1 bcfd from
SoCalGas' other three storage facilities.
The state required SoCalGas to keep 15 bcf in the 86-bcf
Aliso Canyon to minimize risk of gas shortages that could result
in electricity outages.
But that may not be enough to prevent the utility from
curtailing supplies to power plants and other industrial
facilities this winter.
In past years, SoCalGas has pulled gas from Aliso Canyon on
an almost daily basis during the coldest winter months to keep
homes and businesses warm and fuel power generators and
California government agencies looking into SoCalGas'
request to start injecting gas into Aliso Canyon said a few
weeks ago they would not complete their safety review until
early 2017, keeping the field shut at least until later in the
SoCalGas sought permission to re-inject gas into the
facility on Nov. 1 to rebuild supplies before the winter.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Paul Simao)