Core Aggregation Transportation FAQ
- What is the CAT Program?
The CAT program is an SDG&E gas service option that allows core customers to purchase natural gas directly from competitive suppliers, rather than from SDG&E.
Core customers are defined as being all residential, small commercial customers and those large commercial customers who elect core service (see eligibility question for more detail).
- Who do CAT customers call in case of a gas emergency?
CAT customers should continue to call SDG&E for their service and emergency needs.
- 1- 800-336-7343
SDG&E will continue to respond to CAT customer's gas safety calls, read their meters, and maintain the gas delivery system leading to their home and/or business.
Under the CAT program, customers continue to receive gas transportation and distribution services from SDG&E, but purchase the gas commodity from a competitive supplier, known as a gas service provider (GSP).
SDG&E continues to own and maintain the gas lines that deliver the gas to customers' home and/or business. And, SDG&E continues to bill the CAT program participants for providing the gas transportation and distribution services (see billing options question for more details).
- Why does SDG&E offer the CAT program?
SDG&E supports providing customers with a choice of gas and electric suppliers and encourages customers to evaluate their options. SDG&E believes that all customers will benefit from having additional choices in the energy marketplace.
Regardless of which energy supply choices a customer makes, SDG&E remains committed to providing safe and reliable delivery of the energy to their home and/or business.
- Will SDG&E lose money if customers switch suppliers?
SDG&E's price for gas commodity changes each month to match the market price that SDG&E pays for the gas. SDG&E does not make a profit on the sale of natural gas to its customers.
SDG&E makes its profit from delivering gas through its system as well as from other sources, but not from the sale of gas itself. In lieu of charging a combined price for the sale and delivery of the gas, SDG&E will charge CAT customers only for moving their gas across its pipeline system.
- Who is eligible to participate in the CAT program?
Qualifying Rate Schedule
GR, GR-LI, GM, GS, GT
Natural Gas Vehicle
- How does the CAT program work?
To participate, customers must be part of a group that together uses a minimum of 120,000 therms of gas per year. The CAT group can be made up of any combination of core customers from within SDG&E's natural gas service territory. The individual CAT group participants are required to make a minimum one-year commitment to purchase their gas supply as part of a CAT group.
The GSP has the full responsibility of managing the gas supply and its daily delivery into SDG&E's transportation/distribution system for all customers within their CAT group. As part of SDG&E's services, SDG&E will serve as a back-up gas supplier in the event that the GSP fails to arrange for an adequate supply of natural gas.
SDG&E is authorized by the CPUC to assess penalties and collect costs from GSPs who fail to provide for the gas commodity needs of their CAT group customers.
- How do customers know who the participating GSPs are?
SDG&E publishes a list of GSPs who serve customers on SDG&E's system. The list provides customers with the GSPs mailing address, a contact name, their phone and fax number as well as their e-mail address.
- How do customers sign up for the CAT program?
To join the CAT program, customers must first select a GSP. After the customer and GSP have reached agreement on the gas price, the GSP will submit a gas direct access service request (DASR) to SDG&E.
To prevent unauthorized submittal, the CPUC requires that the DASR be signed by the customer or verified by an independent 3rd-party. SDG&E will notify the customer and GSP of the enrollment date.
- Who bills CAT program customers?
That depends on the GSP. The GSP has two billing options that they can offer customers.
A separate bill from the GSP for the commodity and a separate bill from SDG&E for the transportation.
GSP Consolidated Billing
The customer receives one bill from the GSP that includes SDG&E's transportation charges. In this option, SDG&E sends the GSP the customer's transportation bill for payment.
The billing terms should be defined in the agreement between the customer and the GSP, prior to the DASR being sent to SDG&E.
Customers continue to be responsible for payment of SDG&E transportation bills, regardless of any payment arrangements made between the customer and their GSP.
- Will the CAT program save customers money?
It depends. GSPs purchase natural gas from a number of different sources and through a variety of contractual arrangements, all of which may be priced differently than SDG&E's gas price.
Some GSPs may offer a guaranteed fixed price over a period of time, whereas, SDG&E must charge a monthly price which matches that month's cost of gas. GSPs may also offer a price that is indexed below the SDG&E price or below the monthly California border price or offer other attractive pricing options with incentives and/or service conveniences.
Customers should investigate the various options offered by different GSPs to determine which meets their needs and the extent of possible savings based on the GSPs ability to purchase gas at a lower cost than SDG&E.
SDG&E does not guarantee that a customer who joins a CAT group will save money.
SDG&E gas customers may use the SoCalGas' Energy Market Place RFP (request for proposal) process to obtain gas commodity cost estimates from GSPs who are participants on the Energy Market Place website.
- Can SDG&E match a GSP’s offer?
The CPUC regulates the rates for all SDG&E customers, therefore, SDG&E is not permitted to set natural gas prices for a particular customer to match or beat the price being offered by a GSP.
- What advice can SDG&E offer on selecting a GSP?
Customers should check the GSPs customer service history and credit standings just as they would with any other business relationship that they enter into. SDG&E is prohibited from recommending any participating GSP.
- What can customers do if they are not happy with their GSP?
Residential customers have 30 days after they receive their first bill from their supplier to cancel their enrollment in the CAT program. Contact your service provider or SDG&E to request a termination of third party gas services.
The customer's agreement with their GSP should outline the cancellation/termination process and conditions. Currently, customers who join a GSP's CAT group make a minimum one-year commitment with SDG&E to participate in the CAT program.
During the first year the customer can switch GSPs, if their agreement allows it, but they cannot return to SDG&E provider gas service. After the first year, the customer has a month-to-month option of returning to SDG&E or switching to a different GSP.
If a GSP terminates service to a customer, the customer will return to SDG&E gas service. The customer will have 90 days to sign up with a new GSP.
- Will a GSP be as reliable as SDG&E?
SDG&E works closely with GSPs to ensure they deliver adequate gas supplies that meet SDG&E's quality standards. The CAT program has been designed so customers will have gas when they need it.