Natural Gas Deregulation FAQs
Natural Gas Deregulation Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Q1. What is natural gas deregulation?
A. California’s natural gas procurement market was officially deregulated in February 1991 by California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Decision (D.) 91-02-040. This decision followed a pilot program established in November 1990 by D.90-11-061. The 1991 decision gave “core” gas customers (residential and small business customers) the opportunity to aggregate their loads in order to participate in competitive gas markets. The decision to allow customers to choose where to buy their gas was seen as aligned with the CPUC’s efforts to foster competition with natural gas utilities to bring down gas procurement rates.
Q2. Who is affected by gas deregulation?
A. Natural gas deregulation applies to the California Local Gas Utilities service areas. Therefore, only those consumer and small businesses located in the PG&E, SoCalGas, Southwest Gas, and SDG&E service areas are affected by natural gas deregulation.
Q3. How can I get information about the different gas marketers?
A. Consumers may find links to the marketers’ web sites that provide detailed information about the natural gas marketers—sometimes referred to as Core Transport Agents or CTAs—such as telephone numbers and other means of contact. Consumers may also consult the CPUC’s CTA Scorecard and the CTA monthly pricing list for information about gas prices, customer service fees, etc. This material may be used to supplement information that consumers obtain from other sources.
Q4. How do I sign up with a Core Transport Agent?
A. You may contact a Core Transport Agent via telephone, Internet, or written correspondence to sign up for service. After you are enrolled successfully, you will receive a welcome package in the mail containing your terms of service, a disclosure statement, and any contracts as applicable. Please inspect the package carefully to ensure that you have received only services you requested.
Q5. How can I find out if the CTA is reputable?
A. CTAs are certificated by the CPUC as being financially and technically able to sell gas in California. Also, you may consult the CTA Scorecard to view the number and types of complaints that have been filed against each CTA. Consumers may also ask friends, coworkers, and others about how their CTA serves them.
Q6. How do I cancel service with my CTA?
A. Be sure to carefully review the contract you enter into with the CTA, which outlines the cancellation process and terms and conditions of the contract. After completing the terms of the CTA contract, customers can return to their local utility company for gas service or select another CTA. If your service is terminated with the CTA, your account will be returned to your local utility company.
Q7. Are there any low-income or CARE programs?
A. The California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) discount is mandated by the State of California. All qualified customers are eligible for CARE regardless of their gas supplier. The CARE discount for the customer’s gas commodity, distribution, and transmission charges will continue no matter the billing arrangement between the local utility and the CTA.
Q8. Who do I call about any questions about my gas service such as meter reading, billing questions, disconnection, etc.?
A. You may call your Core Transport Agent for assistance on these issues. If you have a problem that you are unable to resolve with your marketer, you may contact the California Public Utilities Commission, Office of Consumer Affairs Branch (CAB). For an expedited response please use the online complaint form and provide as many relevant details as possible. You can contact CAB at https://consumers.cpuc.ca.gov/CABUtilityComplaint.aspx.
Q9. What should I do if I smell gas or have a gas leak?
A. Your local utility company will continue to maintain the pipelines and is available 24 hours a day to respond to natural gas emergencies.
• PG&E 1-800-743-5000
• San Diego Gas & Electric 1-800-411-7343 (residential) 1-800-336-7343 (business)
• SoCalGas 1-800-427-2200
• Southwest Gas Company 1-877-860-6020
Q10. Who bills CTA customers?
A. It will depend on the agreement between the local utility company and the CTA. The local utility company has three billing options that they can offer customers.
1. Dual Billing: The customer will receive a bill from the local utility company for gas transportation charges and another bill from the CTA for gas procurement charges.
2. Consolidated Billing: The customer will receive one bill from the local utility company that includes the gas transportation charges and the CTA’s gas procurement charges.
3. CTA Directed Bill: The customer will receive one bill from the CTA that includes the gas procurement charges and the utility’s gas transportation charges
If you have additional questions, please contact us.