California Now Running Low On Natural Gas

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California - the home of Hollywood great climates, and celebrity glitz - is now facing yet another crisis.

As if the drought wasn't enough...

The state has been in a severe drought with some communities expected to literally run out of water. This might be considered one of the worst emergencies in decades for Californians, but hang on, there is more.

Although California has been spared the severe storms that are plaguing the bulk of the country, storms they could use tenfold, they have felt the jolt from them in shortages to their power plants due to low supplies of natural gas.

This shortage has prompted the state's electric power grid operator, known as the California Independent System Operator, to issue a Flex Alert asking for voluntary energy conservation on Thursday until 10 p.m.

"Statewide electricity and gas conservation will help free up both electricity and gas supplies for Southern Californians," the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state's power grid, said in a statement.

The high demand of the natural gas affecting California's supply is being burned for heat and electricity in and across the U.S. for those who have seen record colds and record snowfall this winter.

The research firm Bentek Energy said in a statement that domestic natural gas production dropped about 1 percent in January from the previous month. That doesn't include Alaska or Hawaii.

"The recent and persistent cold in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest regions affected overall production this month, given that wells can freeze during very cold weather," Jack Weixel, Bentek's director of energy analysis, said in a statement.

The Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas) has asked its customers to slow down usage due to this cold front that the rest of the nation is facing, which is putting pressure on natural gas supplies.

"SoCal Gas is preparing contingency communications to address a potential shortage of natural gas throughout Southern California service territory," SoCal Gas representative Marcella Low said in an email. "We are asking our customers to take precautionary steps to conserve natural gas to ensure there will be sufficient supplies to meet the extreme cold weather demand. At this time, there is no immediate threat of curtailment."

So although California has been spared the polar vortex and other major storms crippling travel, roads and heat resources throughout the country - they're feeling it in natural gas supplies. One can only hope that some of this crazy winter weather will head west and ease their drought.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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