Legislation seeks to protect new natural gas connections, economic development

By Michael Shaw

Capitol Update, Feb. 2, 2018 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angles) and Blanca Rubio (D-West Covina) introduced legislation that would prevent the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) from prohibiting a gas corporation from providing new natural gas service connections. AB 1879 in a few short sentences protects the interests of manufacturers and other businesses across the state who count on new gas connections to create jobs and meet customer demands for product. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee when hearings start in earnest later this month.

In late December last year, the CPUC proposed a moratorium on all new gas service connections to both commercial and industrial customers of Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas) in Los Angeles County. According to the CPUC, the proposed moratorium would help avoid increased demand for natural gas, in light of concerns that the reduced capacity at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility could lead to shortages. They argued that a potential shortage of natural gas would leave residential customers without heat during the peak winter months. However, some CPUC watchers believe that other motives may be at play as well as an ongoing opposition to natural gas as an electricity generation fuel source.

Strong opposition from the business community and a milder winter to date left the CPUC with no choice but to remove this item from the agenda for their January 11th meeting and postpone further consideration until at least February 8th. CMTA and a host of businesses in Los Angeles County opposed the moratorium at the CPUC.

AB 1879 ensures that approved business plans will not be held up due to a moratorium on new gas connections. CMTA supports AB 1879.

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