By Chris Jennewein
Four of Southern California's utilities on Monday issued an unusual joint plea to customers to conserve natural gas during the record national cold weather.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Co. said the cold temperatures across the United States are causing a heavy strain on short-term natural gas supplies.
The National Weather Service said Monday that "bitterly cold Arctic air" has brought unusually cold weather to the West and Midwest. "Many record lows have already been set this past weekend, with some readings colder than 30 degrees below zero," the Weather Service said.
The Southern California utilities said there is not an imminent threat of disruption of natural gas service, but are urging all customers to take precautionary conservation measures throughout this week.
Conserving electricity was also urged because many local power plants are fueled by natural gas and less electricity used lessens demand on the gas supply.
The utilities plan to issue local warnings if necessary.
The following steps are recommended to ensure natural gas supplies are sufficient to meet demand created by the severe winter:
- Lower your thermostat by three to five degrees.
- Limit use of non-essential electric and gas appliances, fireplaces and spas.
- Use less hot water, turn down the water heater thermostat or insulate your water heater.
- Use LED holiday lights, which last longer and use 70% less energy than incandescent light strings. Install a timer to turn them off.