SAN FRANCISCO–The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in its ongoing efforts to ensure reliable natural gas service to Southern California, today authorized Southern California Gas Company to continue its thermostat-based natural gas demand response program to support reliability in Southern California.
The CPUC previously ordered SoCalGas to address the ongoing natural gas reliability concerns related to the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility. SoCalGas implemented a thermostat-based load control Demand Response program for the winter seasons of both 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Today’s decision approves a budget of up to $5.87 million for SoCalGas to operate the program for the 2018-2019 winter season.
The program provides incentives to residential customers for their help in reducing natural gas heating load during natural gas conservation events when the system is constrained. SoCalGas will partner with thermostat vendors to continue a program that adjusts participants’ thermostats to a lower temperature by no more than four degrees during peak events. The event windows are 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on non-holiday weekdays between December 2018 and March 2019. The program will provide a $50 enrollment incentive to new participants. All participants who stay in the program until the end of March 2019 will gain an additional $25.
“We know that because of ongoing limits on the backbone pipeline system in Southern California and the diminished availability of Aliso Canyon, SoCalGas remains unable to meet its 1-in-10-year peak cold day forecast gas demand,” said Commissioner Liane M. Randolph. “This program directly addresses that problem. Thank you to all of the customers who will sign up and do your part. By reducing the amount of gas you use, you are part of the energy reliability solution in Southern California.”
The CPUC directed SoCalGas to evaluate the 2018-2019 winter program and identify, as possible, additional metrics for measuring program success and value, and apply those as part of its evaluation to support learning for potential future seasons.