LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A Southern California Gas Co. official said Wednesday, Feb. 10. that the utility may gain control of leaking gas at the Aliso Canyon storage facility “within the next several days” and potentially cap the well a week or so later.
The comments came as county Supervisor Michael Antonovich pressed Gas Co. officials to give relocated Porter Ranch-area residents 30 days — rather than the eight agreed to on Monday, Feb. 8 — to move back into their homes once the leak is fixed.
“The gas company has failed to consider the victim time and time again,” Antonovich said.
“Residents could be tied up with work or traveling when they get the news that they have to pack up and move back,” he said.
Gillian Wright, the Gas Co.’s vice president of customer services, said that all families in rental housing — roughly one-third of the relocated households — will be able to stay until the end of their lease term. March 31 is typically the earliest lease end date, according to Wright.
Antonovich wasn’t satisfied.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s one person,” he said. “They are being victimized again.”
As of Feb. 5, nearly 5,700 households had been relocated out of the area at Gas Co. expense. The leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility was discovered Oct. 23.
A relief well being dug in hopes of capping the leak is nearing completion.
“Gas control could occur within the next several days,” Wright said.
When that happens, the Gas Co. will notify residents.
When the well is capped, which Wright said would take “easily a week” more, residents would receive a second notification and the clock would start running for those who are staying in hotels or with friends or relatives.
Those with disabilities will be given extra time and other hardship cases will be considered individually, Wright said.
Under the agreement reached Monday, the Gas Co. will:
— notify the the State of California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) once the leak is fixed, and if DOGGR finds that the leak is plugged, the agency will confirm it in writing;
— give Porter Ranch residents who were relocated in hotels up to eight days or seven nights to move back to their homes;
— pay the rent and other costs, such as utilities and gardening service, for the remainder of the lease term of residents’ temporary housing;
— provide up to $500 in reimbursements for the moving expenses of residents who relocated to apartments or single family homes;
— decide on a case-by-case basis how to accommodate relocated residents with special circumstances, such as disabilities, with the Gas Co. also expected to consider issues raised by the City Attorney’s Office and allow for a mediation process to take place if necessary; and
— make reasonable reimbursements on the mileage expenses for the rest of the school year incurred by parents who transport their children to schools outside of the Porter Ranch area.
A previous agreement with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office offered residents 48 hours notice to return to their homes. Residents and some city officials complained that was not enough time, leading to this change.