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Officials Warn of Potential Natural Gas Shortage

The recent cold snap is straining natural gas supplies in Southern California.

FILE PHOTO: Gas meters. Photo credit Nathaniel Homier / Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
FILE PHOTO: Gas meters. Photo credit Nathaniel Homier / Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Southern California Gas Co. on Friday asked customers to take conservation measures as a recent cold snap gripping the nation puts pressure on natural gas supplies.

"We know a typical home's natural gas use for heating increases, sometimes up to three times more during colder months," said Roger Schwecke, vice president of customer solutions for SoCal Gas, which provides natural gas to South Bay cities.

"SoCal Gas is preparing contingency communications to address a potential shortage of natural gas throughout Southern California service territory," SoCal Gas representative Marcella Low said in an email to Patch. "We are asking our customers to take precautionary steps to conserve natural gas to ensure there will be sufficient supplies to meet the extreme cold weather demand. At this time, there is no immediate threat of curtailment."

Customers were advised to:

  • Use extra blankets and sweaters and lower home thermostats by three to five degrees, measures that can reduce heating costs by up to 30 percent.
  • Limit use of non-essential gas appliances such as fireplaces and spas.
  • Use less hot water, turn down water heater thermostats and insulate water heaters.

The utility also reminded customers of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, advising that residents never use ovens, ranges or outdoor grills to heat homes.

The use of carbon monoxide detectors with fresh batteries was also recommended.

Anyone suspecting that they or someone else is suffering symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning—which include nausea, headache, drowsiness, confusion and flu-like symptoms—should call 911 immediately.

—City News Service, with additional reporting by editor Nicole Mooradian.

Barbara Epstein December 07, 2013 at 01:30 PM
So when will Redondo and South bay cities support Solar? It's clean, safe, and absolutely renewable. Germany lacks the days of sunshine that we have, yet they have managed to become # 1 in developing solar power. They formed a partnership with business and community to make them the most energy efficient in the world.
Joe Galliani December 08, 2013 at 01:56 PM
And it would be quick and easy for us to not only generate solar on every viable building in the South Bay, but we could also supply everyone with renewable energy through Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). Many other U.S. cities are already providing 100% renewable electricity for their residents, and generating cost savings from day one - on top of the obvious environmental benefits. They accomplish this by aggregating the purchasing power of all the homeowners in the city, putting out requests for proposals, and finding energy options that are renewable. A CCA is revenue-based so it doesn't need any government funding or public subsidies to make it happen. The money to pay for it come from the revenue stream that already exists, the electricity bills we already pay SCE. Naturally SCE hates this idea, but they don't matter since all we need in Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance or El Segundo is a simple resolution by the City Council. What are we waiting for?
Barbara Epstein December 08, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Thank you, Joe.

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