Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer
Observer Staff Writer 

So Cal Gas closing Santa Monica Storefront After 40 Years

Most people pay their bills online, so no need to pay the rent on retail space


August 29, 2016

The interior of the Southern California Gas company office. In a story as old as the internet: Most people pay their bills online, so there's no need to pay the rent on retail space. So Cal Gas will close it's SM office permanently on 11/01/16. No worries, you can still pay at a couple retail stores in Santa Monica, or online at

Southern California Gas Company has announced that they are closing their Santa Monica storefront payment location after 40 years. The location at 1300 6th Street, allowed you to pay your bill "Low tech" way, i.e. with cash. It will close on November 1, 2016.

Those who wish to pay their Gas Co. bills in cash in Santa Monica, may still do say at Patton's Pharmacy, 734 Montana Avenue; at Mike's Liquor Store, 2402 Wilshire Blvd, or at Ocean Park Pharmacy, 2731 Ocean Park Blvd.

These days of course, most people mail in a check or pay their bill online at, which So Cal Gas company still welcomes you to do.

Natural gas is a fossil fuel used as a source of energy for heating, cooking, and electricity generation. It is also used as fuel for vehicles and as a chemical feedstock in the manufacture of plastics and other commercially important organic chemicals. It is a non-renewable resource.

The Southern California Gas Company (referred to as SoCalGas) is the primary provider of natural gas to the region of Southern California. Its headquarters are located in the Gas Company Tower in Downtown Los Angeles.

Can anyone else remember standing in line with their mom or dad to pay the gas bill?

This gas company's roots trace back to the 1800s when new settlers arrived in Los Angeles in search of a new frontier. In 1867, Los Angeles Gas Company, the forerunner of today's Southern California Gas Company, installed 43 new gas lamps along Main Street, making the city safer at night. The gas lighting business was run by five entrepreneurs who manufactured the gas from asphalt, a tar-like substance, and later from oil.

The company was enjoying modest success until Thomas Edison introduced his electric light in 1879.

With the future of the gas lamp business uncertain, the company began looking for other uses for gas, and Los Angeles soon had its first gas stove and heater. Meanwhile, Pacific Enterprises was looking to expand its gas business. Founded in San Francisco in 1886 as Pacific Lighting, the company bought several small gas manufacturing and distribution companies in the area, including the Los Angeles Gas Company in 1890. These companies ultimately became Southern California Gas Company.

By the early 20th century, natural gas-a colorless, odorless gas found in association with oil underground-was starting to gain attention. The breakthrough came with the discovery of the Buena Vista Oil Field near Taft, California in 1909, which included a huge reservoir of natural gas. Since natural gas had twice the heating value of manufactured gas, the company took the bold step to convert its system to natural gas and build pipelines throughout the state. Natural gas was soon found throughout the country, and demand for the fuel was rapidly growing. To meet customer demand, the company began storing gas in large holding tanks.

In 1941, the company introduced a new system to the Southwest United States: underground storage of natural gas. By 2016, the company had four separate underground storage facilities, all of them depleted oil and gas fields repurposed as gas storage. The four are, in order from largest to smallest, the Aliso Canyon field, north of Porter Ranch; Honor Rancho, near Newhall; the La Goleta Gas Field adjacent to Goleta; and the Playa del Rey storage facility, north of Playa del Rey, near the Los Angeles International Airport.

It is a story as old as the internet: Most people pay their bills online, so there's no need to pay the rent on retail space.


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