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For immediate release: July 18, 2003
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler - 916-654-4989

State Urges Energy Conservation to
Shore Up Winter Supplies of Natural Gas


Sacramento - Save electricity this summer and help stash away natural gas for the winter, urges the California Energy Commission.

"Power plants consume nearly 40 percent of natural gas used in California," says Energy Commissioner James D. Boyd. "By using electricity efficiently this summer, Californians will have more natural gas available for the coming winter's heating season." Boyd stressed that consuming more natural gas as power plant fuel in the summer means having less gas available in the winter, which could mean higher prices for consumers.

One of the keys to meeting the State's winter heating needs and reducing potential price volatility is adequate natural gas storage. The amount of natural gas in underground storage in California is 19 percent below last year's level. "While inventories are not as low as they were in 2001, it is a cause for concern," Boyd emphasized.

Boyd pointed to energy efficiency and conservation as the best alternative for reducing natural gas consumption in the short-term. In the longer-term, he advocates more efficient use of natural gas storage facilities in conjunction with the construction of additional pipeline capacity and facilities to receive additional imports. Boyd also favors an increase in the development of renewable energy for electricity generation to reduce the State's reliance on natural gas. About 85 percent of natural gas used by Californians come from other states and countries.

The Commissioner leads the Governor's Natural Gas Working Group. The group has helped streamline the permitting process for critical natural gas infrastructure projects to insure they were on-line to help meet both summer and winter peak demands. This same group has convened a committee of all state agencies who would potentially be involved in permitting liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in California. The group will address, in advance, potential safety, jurisdiction, and communication-coordination issues.

As noted in Thursday's joint meeting of the California Energy Commission, the Power Authority and the Public Utilities Commission, one of the six tenets of the State's Energy Action Plan addresses the need to ensure reliable supply of reasonably priced natural gas. The plan adopted by the three agencies, also calls out the need for energy efficiency as California's number one priority for financial investments.

Energy-Saving Tips:

  • Set the air conditioner at 78 degrees or higher and at 85 degrees when you're away.

  • Turn off ventilating fans when not in use.

  • Use your clothes dryer and oven during the early morning hours or late at night.

  • Serve more cold meals during hot days.

  • Remove sediment that lowers the efficiency of your water by draining a quart of water from your water heater every three months.

  • Install attic ventilation.

  • Make sure your home is properly insulated.

  • Clean or replace your heating and air conditioning filters every month.

  • Install an insulating wrap for your water heater. Be careful not to block vents or controls.

  • Buy the most energy efficient appliances by looking for the Energy Star label.

For more energy-saving tips, click on:

www.consumerenergycenter.org

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