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SoCalGas lifts advisory to reduce gas use, prevent service interruption

Southern California Gas Co. lifted its advisory that requested customers to cut their natural gas consumption, as well as a systemwide curtailment watch for its commercial and industrial customers, as of Jan. 26.

The advisory, which went into effect Jan. 23, was issued as demand for natural gas increased due to cold weather forecasts. In keeping with the Aliso Canyon Winter Withdrawal Protocol created by the California Public Utilities Commission, SoCalGas withdrew gas from Aliso Canyon to maintain reliability in its service area.

To meet the peak hourly demand, a sudden result of weather changes, SoCalGas placed all other storage fields on maximum withdrawal, which was still not enough to meet the customer demand. The peak occurred on the morning of Jan. 24 and 25, when demand "significantly exceeded" SoCalGas' gas deliveries, the utility said in a Jan. 26 news release.

The withdrawals from Aliso Canyon avoided impending curtailments to SoCalGas' noncore customers, which include electric generation plants, refineries and hospitals, the utility said. In total, SoCalGas delivered nearly 4.1 Bcf of gas on Jan. 24 and 25, the highest demand so far this winter. After withdrawal, about 14.8 Bcf of working gas inventory remained in the Aliso Canyon field.

SoCalGas reported normal background levels at Aliso Canyon over the withdrawal periods, with no increase in methane levels at wells or the withdrawal equipment. Background levels of methane at Aliso Canyon were at their lowest levels during the withdrawal periods, SoCalGas said, citing data from a community air monitor.

SoCalGas is the utility subsidiary of Sempra Energy and serves 21.6 million customers in central and southern California.