Details for: AL5731.pdf


Click on the image for full size preview

Document data

Ronald van der Leeden
Director
Regulatory Affairs
555 W. Fifth Street, GT14D6
Los Angeles, CA 90013-1011
Tel: 213.244.2009
Fax: 213.244.4957
RvanderLeeden@socalgas.com

November 20, 2020

Advice No. 5731
(U 904 G)
Public Utilities Commission of the State of California
Subject: Conclusion of Southern California Gas Company’s Emergency Disaster
Relief Customer Protections for Saddleridge and Sandalwood Wildfire
Residential Customers and Non-Residential Customers Pursuant to
Decision (D.) 19-07-015
Purpose
Pursuant to Ordering Paragraph (OP) 7 of D.19-07-015, Southern California Gas Company
(SoCalGas) hereby submits this Advice Letter (AL) to conclude the emergency customer
protection period for residential and small businesses affected by the Saddleridge fire in
Los Angeles county and the Sandalwood fire in Riverside county, and to detail the
protections offered, the start and end periods these customers received protections,
outreach efforts conducted, customer impacts, and associated costs.
Background
On October 7, 2019, several wildfires erupted across the State, causing damage and
destruction of property. On October 11, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an
emergency proclamation for Los Angeles and Riverside counties due to the effects of the
Saddleridge and Sandalwood fires in Los Angeles and Riverside counties. Pursuant to
D.19-07-015, SoCalGas submitted Advice No. 5535 on October 25, 2019 to implement
protections for residential and small business customers affected by the Saddleridge and
Sandalwood fires where the fires have either: 1) resulted in the loss or disruption of the
delivery or receipt of natural gas service; and/or 2) resulted in the degradation of the
quality of natural gas service. SoCalGas provided the following emergency customer
protections available to affected customers beginning October 12, 2019 and ending on
October 12, 2020:
(1) Waived deposit requirements for affected residential customers seeking to
reestablish service for one year and expedited move in and move out service
requests;





- Page 1 -

Advice No. 5731 -2- November 20, 2020 (2) Stopped estimated usage for billing attributed to the time period when the home/unit was unoccupied as result of the emergency; (3) Discontinued billing; (4) Implemented payment plan options for residential customers; (5) Suspended disconnection for nonpayment and associated fees, waived deposit and late fee requirements for residential customers; and (6) Supported low-income residential customers affected by the fires. Eligibility Requirements for Emergency Customer Protections SoCalGas worked with the appropriate local fire and County agencies to identify and verify homes and small businesses that were destroyed or damaged as a result of the Saddleridge and Sandalwood wildfires. SoCalGas conducted field verifications to validate the information and place each home or small business in one of the two following eligible categories: • Homes or small businesses destroyed by the fire – A total of 17 homes and small businesses were considered a total loss. SoCalGas flagged these customer accounts in SoCalGas’ Customer Information System (CIS) as eligible for protections outlined in Resolutions M-4833 and M-4835 (Resolutions). These accounts remained flagged until these customers established a replacement residence or small business through October 12, 2020. • Homes or small businesses damaged by the fire – A total of 19 homes or small businesses were considered not a total loss but suffered damage due to the fire. SoCalGas flagged these customer service accounts in SoCalGas’ CIS as eligible for protections outlined in the Resolutions. These accounts remained flagged through October 12, 2020. Billing and Credit Protections SoCalGas flagged a total of 10,075 accounts in SoCalGas’ CIS as eligible for billing and credit protections and provided the following billing and credit and credit protections through October 12, 2020. (1) Waived deposit requirements for affected residential customers seeking to reestablish service for one year and expedited move in and move out service requests; Thirty-three SoCalGas customers were affected by the fires requested utility service reactivation. These customers were not required to pay a deposit when requesting to reestablish service through October 12, 2020, at either the same or a new location. SoCalGas’s call center facilitated 4 expedited move-out services to assist customers with their re-building process.
- Page 2 -

Advice No. 5731 -3- November 20, 2020 (2) Stopped estimated usage for billing attributed to the time period when the home/unit was unoccupied as result of the emergency; SoCalGas makes an attempt to use actual reads to bill all customers within the wildfire zones. For the 17 homes and small businesses destroyed by the fires and the 19 homes damaged, SoCalGas closed the customer accounts in CIS and therefore did not estimate usage. SoCalGas made necessary corrections so that the estimated usage billed to other accounts in the impacted area reflected reduced consumption during the period the home or unit may have been unoccupied as a result of the fires or resulting fire-related impact. All customers within the wildfire zones with communicating advanced meter devices will be billed using the actual reads from the meter. SoCalGas only estimates a customer’s usage if an actual meter read is not available. SoCalGas will review the system estimates of bills to confirm its reasonableness. (3) Discontinued billing; SoCalGas closed 50 customers’ accounts as of October 10, 2019 for customers with destroyed, or damaged and uninhabitable residential or non-residential units. SoCalGas reviewed 50 residential customer accounts for possible bill forgiveness. SoCalGas also fully refunded any existing deposit on the accounts after forgiving any bills. (4) Implemented payment plan options for residential customers; SoCalGas established 454 payment arrangements for affected customers through October 12, 2020. (5) Suspended disconnection for nonpayment and associated fees, waived deposit and late fee requirements for residential customers; and SoCalGas identified 10,075 affected customers and confirmed that customer accounts were flagged to suspend all collections activity through October 12, 2020 for all customers directly affected by the wildfires. SoCalGas did not disconnect service at the new residences of customers whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the wildfires through October 12, 2020. SoCalGas does not charge late fees to residential customers. SoCalGas will not request a new or additional deposit from affected customers that may otherwise result from late payment. SoCalGas does not currently assess a disconnection charge. In addition, eligible customers disconnected due to the fires will not be charged a reconnection charge. (6) Supported low-income residential customers affected by the fires. SoCalGas identified 805 affected CARE customers and placed memos on their accounts for emergency customer protections beginning October 2019. These customers were not subject to eligibility verification until October 19, 2020, unless further extended by the Utility or the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission). In March 2020, these emergency customer protections were further extended due to the implementation of COVID-19 customer protections through April 16, 2021, unless modified by the
- Page 3 -

Advice No. 5731 -4- November 20, 2020 Commission. SoCalGas’ Gas Assistance Fund (GAF) administered by United Way of Greater Los Angeles (United Way) increased the limit amount for bill payment assistance grants to $200 for eligible impacted customers. SoCalGas and United Way did not receive any GAF applications from affected customers, and therefore did not provide any grants. Communications Plan SoCalGas communicated the availability of emergency customer protections to customers in the impacted service territory using the following communication channels: media advisories, community outreach through SoCalGas’ Regional Public Affairs managers that work directly with local/community government communications, socalgas.com homepage, a dedicated informational web page, and social media posts. Social media posts directed impacted customers to a dedicated webpage established to explain all of the protections available located on SoCalGas' website at https://www.socalgas.com/billing-support. Emergency Customer Protections Memorandum Account (ECPMA) SoCalGas records costs associated with the emergency customer protections for the fires in the ECPMA. SoCalGas will seek recovery of the costs recorded in the ECPMA in a General Rate Case or other appropriate ratemaking proceeding. The protections detailed in this AL were in effect until October 12, 2020. Protest In accordance with General Order (GO) 96-B, General Rule 6.2, this information-only AL is not subject to protest. Effective Date This submittal is subject to Energy Division disposition and should be classified as Tier 1 (effective pending disposition) pursuant to GO 96-B. It is submitted in compliance with OP 7 of D.19-07-015. Therefore, SoCalGas respectfully requests that this submittal be approved and made effective November 20, 2020. Notice A copy of this AL is being sent to SoCalGas’ GO 96-B service list and the Commission’s service list in R.18-03-011. Address change requests to the GO 96-B service list should be directed via e-mail to Tariffs@socalgas.com or call 213-244-2837. For changes to all other service lists, please contact the Commission’s Process Office at 415-703-2021 or via e-mail at Process_Office@cpuc.ca.gov.
- Page 4 -

Advice No. 5731 -5- /s/ Ronald van der Leeden Ronald van der Leeden Director – Regulatory Affairs Attachments November 20, 2020
- Page 5 -

ADVICE LETTER SUMMARY ENERGY UTILITY MUST BE COMPLETED BY UTILITY (Attach additional pages as needed) Company name/CPUC Utility No.: Southern California Gas Company (U 904G) Utility type: ELC GAS PLC HEAT ELC = Electric PLC = Pipeline WATER Contact Person: Ray B. Ortiz Phone #: (213) 244-3837 E-mail: ROrtiz@socalgas.com E-mail Disposition Notice to: Tariffs@socalgas.com EXPLANATION OF UTILITY TYPE GAS = Gas WATER = Water HEAT = Heat (Date Submitted / Received Stamp by CPUC) Tier Designation: 1 Advice Letter (AL) #: 5731 Subject of AL: Conclusion of Southern California Gas Company’s Emergency Disaster Relief Customer Protections for Saddleridge and Sandalwood Wildfire Residential Customers and Non-Residential Customers Pursuant to Decision (D.) 19-07-015 Keywords (choose from CPUC listing): Credit, Deposits, Disconnect Service, Establish Service AL Type: Monthly Quarterly Annual One-Time Other: If AL submitted in compliance with a Commission order, indicate relevant Decision/Resolution #: Resolutions M-4833 and M-4835 Does AL replace a withdrawn or rejected AL? If so, identify the prior AL: No Summarize differences between the AL and the prior withdrawn or rejected AL: N/A Confidential treatment requested? Yes No If yes, specification of confidential information: Confidential information will be made available to appropriate parties who execute a nondisclosure agreement. Name and contact information to request nondisclosure agreement/ access to confidential information: Resolution required? Yes No Requested effective date: 11/20/20 No. of tariff sheets: 0 Estimated system annual revenue effect (%): N/A Estimated system average rate effect (%): N/A When rates are affected by AL, include attachment in AL showing average rate effects on customer classes (residential, small commercial, large C/I, agricultural, lighting). Tariff schedules affected: N/A Service affected and changes proposed1: N/A Pending advice letters that revise the same tariff sheets: N/A 1 Discuss in AL if more space is needed. Clear Form
- Page 6 -

Protests and all other correspondence regarding this AL are due no later than 20 days after the date of this submittal, unless otherwise authorized by the Commission, and shall be sent to: CPUC, Energy Division Attention: Tariff Unit 505 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102 Email: EDTariffUnit@cpuc.ca.gov Name: Ray B. Ortiz Title: Regulatory Tariff Manager Utility Name: Southern California Gas Company Address: 555 West Fifth Street, GT14D6 City: Los Angeles Zip: 90013-1011 State: California Telephone (xxx) xxx-xxxx: (213) 244-3837 Facsimile (xxx) xxx-xxxx: (213) 244-4957 Email: ROrtiz@socalgas.com Name: SoCalGas Tariffs Title: Utility Name: Southern California Gas Company Address: 555 West Fifth Street, GT14D6 City: Los Angeles State: California Zip: 90013-1011 Telephone (xxx) xxx-xxxx: (213) 244-2837 Facsimile (xxx) xxx-xxxx: (213) 244-4957 Email: Tariffs@socalgas.com Clear Form
- Page 7 -