Responding to complaints that customers would be rushed back to their homes after a gas leak in Aliso Canyon is repaired, Southern California Gas Co. said Monday it will give customers at least a week to return from their temporary housing.
Families living in hotels and motels will have seven nights to move home--up from the 48-hour limit Southern California Gas originally imposed.
Residents living in leased houses will be allowed to finish the term of the rental agreement. Everyone who was relocated will be provided with $500 to cover moving expenses.
The natural gas leak in a storage field above Porter Ranch has prompted the evacuation of at least 4,401 households in the northern part of the San Fernando Valley. The gas company said it might be able to stop the leak in the next two to three weeks.
The new deadlines for residents to return home were agreed to in discussions with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
"After finding their lives upended for months, Porter Ranch residents deserve a reasonable amount of time to move back into their homes -- following independent assurance the leak truly has been stopped," Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said.
Parents whose children are being driven to schools outside of their Porter Ranch community can seek mileage reimbursement from the gas company through the end of the school year.
"We recognize that the leak has disrupted the Porter Ranch community," said Gillian Wright, vice president of customer service for Southern California Gas. "We are pleased to offer more flexibility to support a smoother transition back home."
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich introduced a motion last week that asked utility officials to provide customers with as much as 30 days to relocate back into their neighborhood. Health officials could use that month to test for contaminants in the air, according to a spokesman for the supervisor.
MORE ON THE GAS LEAK