November 28, 2017 / 9:58 PM / in 16 days

Calif. energy agencies express concern over natgas pipeline outages

Nov 28 (Reuters) - California state and local energy agencies on Tuesday expressed concern about the ability of Southern California Gas Co (SoCalGas) to meet customer demand this winter due to natural gas pipeline outages and called for conservation.

The agencies reported in their risk assessment the region faces new challenges and greater uncertainty than a year ago because three natural gas transmission pipelines that SoCalGas relies on to serve customers are out of operation.

The regulatory agencies include California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Independent System Operator and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

“While implementing several mitigation measures, including using gas at the Aliso Canyon storage field, it remains unclear that such actions will be sufficient to avoid gas service curtailments to noncore customers in Southern California if there is a colder than normal winter this year,” CPUC president Michael Picker said.

Non-core customers are large commercial customers, like refineries and power plants, while core customers are the owners of residential homes and small businesses.

Of the three natural gas transmission pipelines out of operation, SoCalGas expects one to return to service at the end of December, the agencies said in a release.

Last month U.S. energy regulators said they would monitor winter natgas supply in Southern California and that overall they do not see major factors that would lead to significant market disruptions. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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