Soapbox

Aliso Canyon facility is needed to keep power on

Crews work last December to stop a leak at a relief well at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility above the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles.
Crews work last December to stop a leak at a relief well at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility above the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles. Associated Press file

A recent commentary by Porter Ranch resident Matt Pakucko is filled with misinformation (“State must close Aliso Canyon permanently,” Viewpoints, Aug. 2).

For the record, the importance of bringing the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility back online to support reliability for the rest of this summer and for the winter heating season has not been overstated. The state study that was referenced was a joint effort based on historical electricity demand.

The article fails to appreciate the careful coordination among California’s energy providers, the California Independent System Operator and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, as well as conservation by consumers, in preventing disruptions to our region’s energy systems earlier this summer.

Fortunately, Southern California has not experienced blackouts, but there have been strains on our system. We have managed our system through two curtailment watches and one localized curtailment in San Diego. And we still have two of the hottest months of the year in front of us.

We must also turn our focus to the winter, when peak demands for natural gas are highest. Withdrawals from Aliso did help meet demand last winter. Without Aliso Canyon, the ability of Southern California Gas Co. to meet demand is reduced, increasing the risk of natural gas curtailments for the entire region and potentially affecting electric generators, hospitals, manufacturers, refineries and other large users.

SoCalGas is working diligently to restore operations at Aliso Canyon by late summer, in compliance with all new regulations and state law.

All wells have completed the first phase of required testing; 17 have completed all tests and been approved by the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. Many have been temporarily idled in a safe condition until phase two testing can be completed. This is a step required by the state and does not mean the wells are unsafe or will not pass future inspections.

We remain committed to supporting forward-looking regulatory policies for natural gas storage facilities and continue our efforts to deliver reliable energy to Southern California.

Bret Lane is chief operating officer for Southern California Gas Co. He can be contacted at JLane@semprautilities.com.

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