The Southern California Gas Co. warned Sunday that cold weather -- and the loss of its main local storage resource -- may put normal electric and natural gas deliveries at risk across Southern California next week.
The company did not specify how large that risk is.
The utility asked its customers to reduce natural gas use, turn down their thermostats and take other steps "to help lower the risk of possible natural gas and electricity shortages," according to a news release.
More than 95 percent of Southland homes use natural gas for heat, and 60 percent of the electricity used in the area is generated using natural gas.
The company had in past years stored gas brought in by pipeline in the Aliso Canyon storage area, but that was ended when a massive natural gas leak spewed the fuel into the air above Porter Ranch.
The company said it and San Diego Gas & Electric -- also owned by the Sempra Corp. -- were issuing "system-wide curtailment watch" for the firms' "non-core" customers, including electrical generating stations and large commercial or industrial suppliers.
In the statement, SoCalGas said it and SDG&E are currently meeting system demands utilizing gas flowing in from interstate pipelines, plus the limited local storage facilities it has available.
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In a statement issued to reporters, the company said the loss of its Aliso Canyon storage facility has led to concerns by state regulators that the company would not have enough pipeline capacity and local storage to handle demand on very hot or cold days.
Local electric companies use natural gas generators to supplement electric supplies, and state regulators last year had voiced concern that rolling blackouts. A limited program to resume some natural gas sotrage at Aliso Canyon has been approved.
A SoCalGas spokeswoman told City News Service Sunday that the company could not release any description of how large the shortfall might be.