The Gas Company offers safety tips to customers returning home after firestorm evacuations

Media Contact:
Raul Gordillo

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066


        LOS ANGELES, Nov. 17, 2008 – Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) is asking customers returning home after having been evacuated to check their natural gas service and, if service is off or they smell or hear a natural gas leak, to call The Gas Company at (800) 427-2200.

        “The safety of our customers, employees and the community is our highest priority,” said Richard M. Morrow, vice president of customer service at The Gas Company.  “If you are able to return to your home, and you find your natural gas service is off, do not turn it back on - call The Gas Company.”

        The Gas Company has experienced no major impacts to its natural gas pipeline transmission system, storage fields or other facilities from the fires.  The Gas Company crews are beginning to enter fire-damaged areas allowed by fire officials to assess the extent of damage, repair damaged natural gas service lines and meters, and restore service to customers.

        “We appreciate the patience of our customers in fire-impacted areas as we work to restore service,” Morrow said.

        The Gas Company offers these natural gas safety tips:

        • DO NOT shut off the natural gas meter unless there is the smell or sound of natural gas escaping.
        • If there is the smell or sound of natural gas escaping, and it is safe to do so, the natural gas should be manually turned off at the meter.  Using an adjustable wrench, make a quarter-turn of the valve, moving it from a vertical position to a horizontal position.  This will shut off the flow of natural gas. 
        • If the odor is strong, leave the residence immediately.  Do not use any electronic devices while in the area of the odor, including flipping light switches.  From a safe location, call the Gas Company at (800) 427-2200 24 hours a day, seven days a week; or call 9-1-1.
        • If the natural gas meter is shut off, it may only be turned back on by a Gas Company energy technician.  Interior natural gas piping and appliances must be inspected for possible damage before service can be safely restored.

        Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years.  It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.3 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.  The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).