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Gas Company

April 11, 1993

The headline on your March 16 article, "Group Fights Service Cuts," creates a false impression on the part of our customers. The Gas Co., like most other businesses, is making significant changes to reduce operating costs while maintaining or improving its high safety record.

One way of reaching our cost-savings goal is through increased use of a "soft- close" policy where natural gas service is left on for the second occupant when the first occupant moves out. This procedure is used by utilities nationwide with no increased risk to the public; yet, it provides quicker service for the customer moving in. We have used this policy since 1978. We have simply expanded the program and added additional safety and service-related features.

The article pointed out that a tragedy in Crestline may have been averted if the soft-close policy were not in effect. Investigations by us and the Sheriff's Department indicated that the occupant had tampered with the furnace and the controls after moving in, causing it to override the existing safety features and allow heat in a bedroom to reach 120 degrees.

The Gas Co. urges its customers to call us whenever they suspect a problem with their appliances. We also provide turn-on service for home heaters each winter.

LEE K. HARRINGTON

Senior Vice President

The Gas Co., Los Angeles

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