Southern California Gas was instructed by the California Public Utilities Commission to hire an outside auditor to conduct a management audit. A PUC official called it a routine step that wasn't made in response to any "red flags" at the nation's largest gas utility. Similar audits have been ordered at Pacific Gas & Electric, Pacific Bell and San Diego Gas & Electric in recent years. The audit is intended to "review the utility's effectiveness" and "recommend ways to improve it in view of the increasingly competitive natural gas marketplace." Previous audits have recommended as many as 150 changes in internal practices, many of which were adopted voluntarily by the utilities, the PUC official said.