The Gas Company to re-drill wells at its underground storage field to help reduce costs for customers
Plains Exploration and Production Compnay to provide the drilling equipment

Media Contact:
Denise King

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066


        LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2006 – Work is underway at La Goleta Underground Storage Facility of Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) to enable the company to extract additional supplies of natural gas to reduce the cost of gas for low-income customers enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program.

        The project is the result of an urgent request made by The Gas Company to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which was approved in November 2005.  The utility has developed a plan to re-drill some natural gas wells in two of its underground storage fields to withdraw natural gas stored many years ago at a very low cost.  By withdrawing low-cost natural gas to serve customers, The Gas Company can avoid buying an equivalent amount of natural gas at high prices.  The project has reduced gas bills for CARE customers this winter and will also help mitigate the effect on gas bills of CARE customers if the market price of gas is high over the next two winters.

        Plains Exploration and Production Co. will provide the drilling rig that will be used at The Gas Company’s La Goleta facility over the 20-day project.  

        “We appreciate the offer from Plains Exploration and Production Co. to loan one of its drilling rigs under contract for this project,” said Lee Stewart, senior vice president of gas operations for The Gas Company.  “The use of this equipment will allow us to stay on schedule to provide the benefits of increased supplies to our customers.”

        The Gas Company is working to help customers manage their natural gas consumption and thereby reduce their gas bill.  In addition to the CARE program, which provides a 20 percent discount on the monthly gas rate for income-eligible customers, The Gas Company also offers its limited-income customers no-cost home weatherization services, and one-time grants of up to $150 on the gas bill for those facing financial hardship. 

        In addition, utility rebates are available to help with the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and home improvement measures.  Customers are encouraged to visit The Gas Company’s Web site at, or call (800) 427-2200 for more information on programs and services available to help reduce energy use and gas bills.

        The Gas Company is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 19.8 million consumers through 5.6 million meters.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in most of central and Southern California.  The Gas Company strives to provide exceptional customer service to enhance the quality of life in the community.  The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.