- An assessment of Southern California's energy reliability this winter paints a precarious picture due to the loss of three gas pipelines and reduced capacity at Southern California Gas' Aliso Canyon storage facility.
- The report, issued by the California Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission, concluded "the region faces new challenges and greater uncertainty than a year ago." Customers will be asked to conserve at even greater levels than they did last winter.
- A trio of gas transmission pipelines SoCalGas relies on to serve customers is out of operation. One pipeline ruptured in October, leading to damage on a second nearby line. Regulators say one pipeline is expected to be back in service by the end of the year.
Customers in Southern California will be called on to reduce their gas usage even more than they did last year, and that still may not be enough if the state is hit with a colder-than-normal winter.
In a conference call with reporters, and later in a statement, CEC Chair Robert Weisenmiller said “Southern Californians have played a role in timely reducing energy use in past peak demand seasons,” and they "will be called upon again to turn down thermostats and conserve both electricity and natural gas at a rate greater than a year ago.”
Even with conservation, officials say it is unclear if the region will have sufficient gas supplies to avoid curtailments to "noncore customers," including gas generators. Residential and small business customers, considered "core" customers, would not face curtailments.
Over the summer, a state appeals court ruled SoCalGas could partially reopen Aliso Canyon, though at a significantly-reduced operating capacity. SoCalGas, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, resumed injections into the gas storage facility for the first time following discovery of a leak in late 2015.
Regulators say additional mitigation measures are being considered, and could include greater outreach to
encourage gas conservation by core customers and expanding programs that use smart thermostats for demand response.
This month, the CPUC asked SoCalGas to develop a program allowing the dispatch of thousands of smart
thermostats that are already in place. Regulators are also considering an emergency moratorium on new natural gas service connections in the areas of Los Angeles County served by the Aliso Canyon facility.