Falling natural gas prices shouldn't put the brakes on energy efficiency, The Gas Company says

Jul 3, 2006

Media Contact:
Peter Hidalgo

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066



        LOS ANGELES, July 3, 2006 – While customers of Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) are benefiting from significantly lower natural gas prices since last winter, they would save even more money through continued participation in the company’s energy-efficiency programs, Gas Company officials said.

        “Customers can still save money by using energy more efficiently, even at today’s lower prices,” said Anne Shen Smith, senior vice president of customer services for The Gas Company.  “Our energy rebates and incentives can provide hundreds of dollars in savings for residential customers and up to $525,000 for businesses.” 

        Last November, the average cost of natural gas that The Gas Company purchases for customers was $1.09 per therm, about twice as much as this month’s price of 55 cents per therm, which is still above historical averages.

        Smith said that, despite the recent decline in natural gas prices, an upward trend is expected across the country for the foreseeable future. 

        “Energy efficiency is a good investment for managing energy costs,” Smith said.  “Since many energy-efficiency projects can take months to complete, customers would benefit by starting on them now – before prices rise again.”

        During 2004-05, participants in The Gas Company’s energy-efficiency programs saved about 26 million therms – enough energy to meet the needs of more than 48,000 homes for a year.

        These results, together with similar achievements at other California utilities, provide important benefits to the entire state.  “Energy efficiency helps stretch California’s energy supplies even though the state’s population continues to grow,” Smith said. 

        Energy efficiency also helps the environment, she added.  The state’s energy efficiency goals between 2006-08 call for lower carbon-dioxide emissions that will reduce global warming pollution by an estimated 3.4 million tons of carbon dioxide – equivalent to taking about 650,000 cars off the road.

        For more information, visit www.socalgas.com/energyefficiency, contact a representative from The Gas Company, or call (800) GAS-2000.

        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.

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