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SoCalGas Joins Santa Barbara County Flower & Nursery Growers' Association to Sponsor the Carpinteria Greenhouse & Nursery Tour

The public is invited to come and learn how Santa Barbara County's Flower Farms help grow a $770.7 million impact to the local economy

LOS ANGELES, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is joining with the Santa Barbara County Flower & Nursery Growers' Association to sponsor the Carpinteria Greenhouse & Nursery Tour, an event to introduce the public to see firsthand how Santa Barbara County's flower farms work to contribute more than $770.7 million in economic impact to the local economy. Carpinteria (located in Santa Barbara County) is recognized as the nation's "Flower Basket" and provides more than 50 percent of the value of flowers grown in the state, while California represents about 75 percent of all flowers grown in the United States.

The public is invited to attend free, guided tours of six flower farms located in the Carpinteria Valley on Saturday, March 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Among the flowers that will be showcased are roses, gerberas, orchids and more. Each farmer will demonstrate a variety of sustainable growing and harvesting practices. Participating growers include: B&G Color Nursery, Gallup & Stribling Orchids, Maximum Nursery, Myriad Flowers, Westland Orchids and Produce and Westerlay Orchids.

"Today 74 percent of consumers have no idea where the flowers they buy are grown," said Kasey Cronquist, CEO and Ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission, the organizer of the Carpinteria Greenhouse & Nursery Tour. "Most people do not realize that 80 percent of the flowers sold in our country are now imported. Tours like these help to drive awareness of locally grown flowers and the reasons why consumers' support for American Grown flower farmers is so important."

Natural gas is a primary fuel source for electric generation and these growers use both natural gas and electricity for their businesses.

"Southern California Gas Co. is committed to making California's businesses and homes more energy efficient and helps to identify ways to stretch every unit of energy to minimize environmental impacts. That's why we are proud to offer energy efficiency solutions that help our business customers, such as these greenhouse growers, become more competitive in their marketplaces," said Gwen Marelli, director of Commercial and Industrial Services at SoCalGas.

SoCalGas provides California flower farms with rebates and incentives for greenhouse energy curtains (moveable panels of fabric or plastic film to cover and uncover a greenhouse), pipe and tank insulation and high efficiency boilers. These efforts help these business customers save nearly four million therms of natural gas which is the equivalent of $2 million dollars in energy costs. (A therm is equal to 100 cubic feet).

"Using energy wisely is a good investment in the economy and the environment," Marelli added.

"We're pleased to partner with our sponsors to give the community a chance to learn more about our wonderful community of flower farmers," said June Van Wingerden, president of the Santa Barbara Flower & Nursery Growers' Association. "The event is important because it provides an annual opportunity to invite the public into our greenhouses to see the beauty growing inside. These tours allow us to share that beauty and highlight how our flower farms help the local economy and provide many types of jobs."

About Southern California Gas Co.
Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 20.9 million consumers connected through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. Southern California Gas Co. is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).

About Carpinteria Greenhouse & Nursery Tour
The Annual Carpinteria Greenhouse & Nursery Tour was established by the Santa Barbara County Flower and Nursery Growers' Association. The Association was established in 1975 to support its farms through advocacy, promotion and public relations efforts to ensure a positive long-term relationship with the local community. The farm tour gives the public the rare opportunity to see the beauty growing inside of the greenhouses of the Carpinteria Valley.

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Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.9 million consumers through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.

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SOURCE Southern California Gas Co.

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