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Catalina Island Frequently Asked Questions

Our goal is to provide safe and reliable electricity to Catalina Island. On this page we’ve compiled some tips and helpful information to address your unique concerns as an island resident.

How can I conserve water?

To save more water, consider these tips from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). The calculated savings are based on typical usage for a family of two adults and one child.

Indoor Water Conservation
What you can do: How much you may save:
Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth 3 gallons per day
Shorten your showers by one or two minutes 5 gallons per day
Fix leaky faucets 20 gallons per day
Wash only full loads of laundry 15 and 50 gallons per load

 

Outdoor Water Conservation
What you can do: How much you may save:
Water your yard before 8 a.m. to reduce evaporation and interference from wind 25 gallons per day
Install a smart sprinkler controller 40 gallons per day
Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks 150 gallons each time
Check your sprinkler system for leaks, overspray and broken sprinkler heads 500 gallons a month

You may also save more by:

  • Not using water to clean, fill or maintain decorative foundations, unless the water is part of a recirculation system
  • Only serving water to restaurant customers who request it
How can I save on my gas costs?

Reducing gas usage can help lower your bill. These tips may help you save more:

Home Heating and Cooling

  • Air conditioning. Set you air conditioning thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature. Avoid using evaporative coolers or humidifiers while an air conditioner is running.
  • Heating. On cold days and nights, set your heating thermostat no higher than 60º F.
  • Filters. Clean or replace filters on heaters and air conditioners regularly.
  • Fans. Use ventilating fans wisely; in just 60 minutes one can pull out a houseful of warmed or cooled air. Turn fans off when their job is done.
  • Drapes and shades. Shut them to block direct sunlight and lower your cooling costs.
  • Insulate.  Caulk or weather strip around doors and windows to reduce both cooling and heating costs.

Appliances

  • Range Top Burners. Check for a blue, cone-shaped flame: a yellow flame means air inlets are clogged or burners need adjusting. Keep burners and refelctors clean to better relfect heat.
  • Automatic electric ignition. This feature on ovens and ranges saves the gas used by a continually-burning pilot light.
  • ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels. Look for these when buying appliances, and use non-essential appliances—such as clothes washers and dryers—during off-peak hours (before noon or after 6:00 p.m.).
  • Dishwashers. A full dishwasher generally uses less water and energy than washing dishes in the sink. Load dishes properly (see your owner’s manual) and use the “energy saver” feature to dry them. Better yet, let them air dry. Don’t forget to keep the drain clean.
  • Refrigerators. Check and clean coils regularly, especially during the summer (see your appliance owner’s manual for maintenance instructions).
  • Gas Fireplaces. Turn them off when you leave the room for a long time.

Pool and Spa

  • Swimming pool equipment. Only run during off-peak hours (before noon or after 6:00 p.m.), and only for the minimum time required.
  • Spas. Heat them only when in use. Lower the temperature and timer settings, and make sure the thermostat is accurate.
  • Covers. Keeping pools and spas covered when not in use can result in energy savings of up to 50%.

Water Heaters

  • Insulatation. Insulate your hot-water storage tank and pipes without covering the thermostat. Don’t cover a propane water heater's top, bottom, or burner compartment; when in doubt, call a professional.
  • Replace Older Units. Although most water heaters last 10-15 years, it's generally best to replace yours if it’s more than seven years old.
  • Remove Sediment. Drain a quart of water from the water tank every three months to remove sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers efficiency.
  • Use Less Hot Water. Run washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers with a full load. Take shorter, cooler showers instead of baths.
  • Lower the Temperature. Set your water heater thermostat at or slightly below the manufacturer’s suggested level.

Cooking

  • Oven. Preheat your oven only when necessary, and keep the door closed to save energy.
  • Clean=Energy Efficient. Keep oven and burners clean to increase their efficiency.
  • Maximize Your Energy. Cook several meals at the same time, keeping pots covered on the stove while cooking.
  • Gas Grilling. To reduce gas grill cooking time, choose foods with comparable cooking times and keep the grill lid closed as much as possible. Cook several dishes at one time, and defrost frozen food prior to grilling.

Programs and Rebates You May Qualify For:

These programs are funded by California utility customers and are administered by Southern California Edison under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

How can I recognize a propane gas leak?

Propane gas is heavier than air and collects in lower levels of buildings, like basements or crawl spaces, so you’ll notice leaks in these places first. Propane gas is also colorless and odorless, so propane gas manufacturers add a chemical odor so you can detect it if there is a leak.  Leaks may also be heard and seen. Here are some ways to tell if you are near a leak:

Smell: If you smell propane gas, there may be a leak nearby.

Listen: An unusual noise like a hissing sound may be a sign of a propane gas leak.

Look: Visible signs of a leak include a dense white cloud or fog over a pipeline, discolored or dead vegetation surrounding a pipeline, flames coming from the ground or exposed piping, a slight mist of ice or frozen area on the pipeline, or continuous bubbling in a wet, flooded area.

What should I do if I suspect a propane gas leak?

If you smell propane gas or suspect a leak has occurred, follow these important rules:

  • Do not touch, breathe, or make contact with leaking propane gas
  • Get everyone out of your home or building, opening doors and windows to ventilate the area
  • If outside, leave the area immediately by walking into the wind and away from the propane gas
  • Do not light a match, start an engine, use a cell phone, or do anything that may create a spark as the leaked propane gas can ignite
  • Turn off machinery and equipment, but never approach equipment that is surrouned by a gas cloud
  • FROM A SAFE LOCATION, CALL LOCAL EMERGENCY RESPONDERS AT 911 AND SCE AT 1-310-510-4301 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
  • Provide a description of the propane leak and its location
  • Warn others to keep away
How is propane gas delivered safely to my home or business?

Propane gas is supplied to our customers via a pipeline system, the safest, most reliable, and most efficient way of distributing propane gas.  Pipeline failures on Catalina Island are rare because our pipeline system is designed, installed, tested, operated and maintained according to strict standards used by SCE, the pipeline industry and those required by local, state, and federal government agencies.

SCE continuously monitors the pipeline system through a combination of safety programs:
• Patrols of the pipeline system
• Visual ground inspections and leak surveys
• Computerized system reports and records of line pressure 24 hours a day
• Construction practices that help prevent rusting and minimize corrosion

How can I help keep gas pipelines on Catalina Island safe?

Everyone can contribute to the safety and security of the pipeline system on Catalina Island.  Any activity near or on a pipeline route—even  something as simple as planting a tree or building a fence—can potentially damage a pipeline.  

A gouge, scrape, dent or crease to a pipeline or its coating may cause a break or a leak in the future. If you plan to dig, drill, or engage in any other activity that could damage a pipeline, call Dig Alert at 1-800-227-2600 at least 48 hours before you dig or excavate.

When you call Dig Alert, SCE personnel will come out and mark the pipeline route for you.  When excavating near propane gas piping, the excavation must be done with hand tools until the propane gas line is found.  

If you know of even minor damage to a pipeline, please contact SCE immediately at 1-310-510-4301 so we can investigate.

How do I prepare for a propane gas leak?

SCE hosts an annual joint training program to review propane gas emergency response communications and fire safety procedures. We invite fire, public, and law enforcement agencies to attend.  

Pipeline system information will also be available at scheduled Avalon City Council meetings. Notices of upcoming public meetings will be published in the local newspapers and on the SCE Catalina website at www.sce.com/catalina.

Where are the underground gas pipelines?

Usually, an underground “main” pipeline located in the middle of the street in front of your home or business supplies propane gas. Additional underground piping runs from the main pipeline to the propane gas meter that supplies propane gas to your home or business. In open areas, main pipelines are marked with aboveground signs to indicate the general location, SCE contact information, and that the pipeline contains propane gas.  Markers do not provide information on the depth or number of pipelines in the vicinity and the markers do not indicate the exact position of the pipeline.

What can I do above ground to keep underground pipelines safe?

Pipeline routes must be kept free from structures and other obstructions. If a pipeline crosses your property, please do not plant trees or high shrubs along the route. Also, do not store or place anything on or near the pipeline route without first contacting SCE so we can explain the company’s construction guidelines to you. Call us during normal business hours at 1-310-510-4312 if you have any questions.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Always follow these important safety tips:

  • Never use a propane gas oven or stove burners for heating
  • Only use indoor-use portable heaters when inside
  • Don’t use an outdoor barbeque grill indoors
  • Always keep propane gas appliances well-ventilated
  • Have propane gas appliances tested regularly by qualified technicians
Where can I get information about my drinking water?

You can read our 2012 Consumer Confidence Report (PDF) for our operations on Catalina Island. This report is required by the California Department of Public Health (DPH) and was developed to provide you details about where your drinking water comes from, what it contains, and how it compares to California water quality standards.

Our goal is to provide you a safe and dependable supply of drinking water. We conducted more than 2,300 tests for over 150 drinking water contaminants. In 2010, SCE tested for regulated as well as some unregulated contaminants. Unregulated contaminant monitoring helps the EPA and the DPH to determine where certain contaminants occur and whether the contaminants need to be regulated. The tests conducted during 2010 indicate that the drinking water provided to you meets all regulatory requirements.

If you have any questions about this report or want to discuss the quality of your water, please contact Ron Hite, SCE Catalina District Manager at 1-310-510-4312. We are committed to providing you information and we welcome your comments.