SOURCE: Southern California Gas Company

Southern California Gas Company

March 16, 2010 14:21 ET

The Gas Company Offers Safety Tips for Earthquake Preparedness

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - March 16, 2010) - Following this morning's 4.4-magnitude earthquake in the Pico Rivera area and the recent devastating quakes in Haiti and Chile, Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) is reminding customers that advance preparation is critical in getting ready for the next major earthquake.

The Gas Company offers these safety tips to help reduce the chance of injuries or property damage from the next quake:

Before an earthquake:

-- Securely strap water heaters to prevent them from moving or toppling
   over.  The water heater should be fastened securely to the wall studs
   in two places -- the upper and lower one-third of the tank -- with 
   heavy bolts and metal straps.
-- Replace semi-rigid (aluminum or copper) gas appliance connectors with
   approved connectors made of corrugated metal.  These are less likely
   to crack during an earthquake.  Connectors and water heater strapping
   kits are available at most hardware and home improvement stores, or may
   be purchased and installed by a licensed, qualified professional or The
   Gas Company.
-- Know where the natural gas meter is located.  Gas meters are commonly
   located above ground next to the home on the side, front or back, but
   may also be in a cabinet or underground.
-- Have a 12-inch or larger adjustable wrench handy to manually turn off
   the gas meter should it be necessary if a gas leak is suspected after
   an emergency.

After an earthquake:

-- Do not turn off the gas meter after an earthquake, unless there is a
   gas smell or the sound of gas escaping.  Once the gas has been turned
   off, it may take The Gas Company several days to restore service,
   depending on the magnitude of the emergency.
-- If an appliance appears to have a leak, turning off the valve between
   the appliance and gas line may stop the leak.  If not, shut off the gas
   at the meter.
-- If there is an apparent gas leak, remain calm.  Do not light a match,
   candle or cigarette, and do not turn electrical devices -- not even a
   light switch -- on or off.  From a safe location, call The Gas Company
   at (800) 427-2200 or (800) 342-4545 in Spanish, 24 hours a day, seven
   days a week; or call 911.
-- If a gas leak is suspected and it is safe to do so, turn the gas 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 gas. (A diagram and instructions for
   turning off the gas meter are printed in the "Survival Guide" section
   of most telephone directory white pages and is also available at
   www.socalgas.com.)
-- If the gas is shut off at the meter, do not turn it back on without
   the help of The Gas Company.  Gas service should not be restored until
   The Gas Company determines that the customer's facilities, appliances
   or other gas equipment are safe.

For more natural gas safety information, visit The Gas Company's Web site at www.socalgas.com/safety.

Southern California Gas Co. is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.5 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities. Southern California Gas Company ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Residential Natural Gas Service in the Western United States," according to the 2009 study by J.D. Power and Associates*. 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). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company. To learn more, go to www.socalgas.com.

*About the J.D. Power and Associates study: Southern California Gas Company received the highest numerical score among gas utilities in the Western U.S. in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study(SM). Study based on 54,405 total interviews with U.S. residential gas customers measuring 15 utilities in the West (AZ, CA, ID, NM, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY). Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in September 2008-July 2009. Your experiences may vary.

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