Demonstrating that global warming is also a natural gas utility concern, Sempra Energy's Southern California Gas Co. Tuesday said it has followed an affiliated utility in successfully certifying its 2005 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory with the California Climate Action Registry, gaining designation as a "Climate Action Leader." Sempra's other California utility, San Diego Gas and Electric Co., gained similar status earlier in March.

Like SDG&E, SoCalGas four years ago voluntarily joined the nonprofit state Climate Action Registry, whose goal is to establish a statewide inventory of emissions of the six GHG gases considered to impact global warming. The gas utility's inventory and certification process is complex, requiring data gathering from, among other things, every company operation, most vehicles, every engine and every building that is part of the utility. All data must be verifiable.

During the past 15 years, Sempra's gas-only utility -- the nation's largest -- has invested almost a half-billion dollars ($494 million) in energy efficiency programs, averaging about $42 million annually. The result is SoCalGas customers have collectively saved 312 million therms, enough to serve more than a half-million customers for a year.

As California benefits from the environmental advantages of natural gas, the utility has helped the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority create what the gas utility called "the largest fleet of natural gas-fueled buses in the world," a SoCalGas spokesperson said. During the last 13 years, the gas-powered fleet grew from 200 vehicles to 1,500 vehicles.

"Certification of our GHG inventory will help California implement its GHG gas reduction goals," said Bret Lane, the vice president for environmental, safety and facilities for the Sempra utilities. "This accomplishment reflects our commitment to responsible implementation of California's GHG regulation and our ongoing efforts to operate our company in the most environmentally responsible manner possible."

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