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Backbone Transmission Service (BTS)

Formerly Firm Access Receipt Rights and Off-System Delivery (FAR OFF)

Subject to pending approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Backbone Transmission Service (BTS) will be the new name for the current Firm Access Receipt Rights And Off-System Delivery (FAR OFF) service on the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) transmission system.

Important Dates

  • Current FAR OFF contracts will end on September 30, 2011
  • BTS will be implemented on October 1, 2011


Like FAR OFF, BTS enables market participants -- including end-users, wholesale customers, gas suppliers and California gas producers -- to do the following:

  • Hold firm and/or interruptible BTS rights at receipt points into the SoCalGas/SDG&E integrated gas transmission system
  • Trade their firm rights through the Secondary Market trading module
  • Exchange receipt point rights electronically via the SoCalGas EBB system -- Envoy
  • Purchase and use off-system deliveries from the SoCalGas/SDG&E integrated gas transmission system to the PG&E delivery point, which continue to be offered via the SoCalGas EBB system -- Envoy
  • Request and utilize existing Pooling Service contracts

2011 Open Season

In the summer of 2011, SoCalGas will hold an open season in which parties may obtain firm rights for receipt point access for the contracts starting October 1, 2011. Following the open season, parties will be able to obtain firm and/or interruptible rights for the October 1, 2011 BTS contract period electronically via the SoCalGas EBB -- Envoy.

All current Schedule M Receipt Point Master Agreements (RPMA) and Schedule L Pooling Service Agreements (PSA) continue in effect.

BTS Topics

Who May Participate

The following parties are eligible to participate in the Backbone Transmission Service:

  • Non-core end-use transportation customers of SoCalGas, SDG&E, Southwest Gas, and City of Long Beach
  • Wholesale Customers of SoCalGas
  • SoCalGas/SDG&E Gas Acquisition Department
  • California Gas Producers
  • Contracted Marketers
  • Core Aggregators (ESPs)
  • Storage Customers
  • Any creditworthy party

Participant Options

End-use customers will have a variety of options to manage their backbone transmission rights, including:

  • Assign your rights to your Marketer or Agent
  • Request Core Procurement Service from SoCalGas
  • Choose not to opt for firm backbone rights
  • Accept, reject or accept partial set- asides as applicable
  • Bid for rights during applicable open season process
  • Buy firm backbone rights after open season from SoCalGas
  • Buy interruptible backbone rights after the Open Season
  • Buy firm rights in the secondary market or as available from SoCalGas

Historical Capacity Utilization

Annual Report of System Reliability Issues

Posted per SoCalGas Tariff Rule 41, this is the report of system reliability issues for the Customer Forum on Nov 18, 2010.

Receipt Points and Alternate Receipt Points

Customers holding firm receipt point access capacity will be able to nominate natural gas for delivery at a specific receipt point and on an alternate firm basis “within-the-zone” from any specific receipt point within an applicable transmission zone.

Customers will also be able to nominate natural gas for delivery on an alternate “outside-the-zone” firm basis from any receipt point on the system. All such nominations will be scheduled in accordance with SoCalGas Rule No. 30, Transportation of Customer-Owned Gas.

Total Transmission Zone Firm Access (tentative)

Total Transmission Zone Firm Access
Zone* Zone Firm Access
Specific Points of Access
Firm Access
Specific Points of Access
Southern 1,210 EPN Ehrenberg – 1,210 1,229 EPN Ehrenberg – 1,229
    TGN Otay Mesa - 400   TGN Otay Mesa - 414
    NBP Blythe – 600   NBP Blythe – 621
Northern 1,590 TW North Needles - 800 1,620 TW North Needles -  812
    TW Topock - 190   TW Topock - 193
    EPN Topock - 540   EPN Topock - 548
    QST North Needles-120   QST North Needles - 121
    KR Kramer Junction – 550   KR Kramer Junction – 574
Wheeler 765 KR/MP Wheeler Ridge – 765 798 KR/MP Wheeler Ridge –  798
    PG&E Kern River Station - 520   PG&E Kern River Station - 528
    OEHI Gosford – 150   OEHI Gosford – 167
Line 85 160 California Supply 184 California Supply
Coastal 150 California Supply 173 California Supply
Other 79 California Supply 91 California Supply
Total 3,954   4,095  

*Any interstate pipeline, LNG Supplier or PG&E that interconnects through a new receipt point may be added to that Transmission Zone.

Backbone Nominations Transaction Paths

Backbone Nominations Transaction Paths
A table of path points.
Path Number From To
1 & 2 Pipeline/CA Producer Receipt Point Access Contract
3 Receipt Point Access Contract End-user, Contracted Marketer, ESP
4 Receipt Point Access Contract Customer's Pool Account
5 Receipt Point Access Contract Storage Account
6 Customer's Pool Account End-user, Contracted Marketer, ESP
7 Customer's Pool Account Another Party's Pool Account
8 Storage Account End-user, Contracted Marketer, ESP
9 Customer's Pool Account Storage Account
10 Storage Account Customer's Pool Account
11 Storage Account Storage Account
12 Storage Account Off-System Delivery Agreement
13 Customer's Pool Account Off-System Delivery Agreement
14 Off-System Delivery Account Pipeline (PG&E)
15 Receipt Point Access Contract Off-system Delivery Agreement
16 End-user Storage Account

Backbone Transportation Service Implementation Timeline (tentative)



2/11 – 3-11

  • AE send notification to customers about upcoming Open Season
  • Hold informational meetings with end use customers, marketers, and other interested parties to explain Open Season process, online bidding system.


  • Online Bidding Website launched to include:
  • Provide Maximum Bidding Rights quantities to all end-use customers, Base Period to be  January 2008 – December 31, 2010 (excludes set-aside parties)
  • Assignment of Rights to third party forms
  • Creditworthiness Applications
  • Contract Request forms

3/11  - Ongoing

  • Perform credit checks on the RPMA requests for non-end use customers
  • Execute Master Base Agreements (MSC and RPMA) and creditworthiness requirements in place for set-aside parties, end use customers and other participants without current contracts.



  • Deadline to receive Interstate pipeline contracts for set-aside customers (12 month contract executed 1 month prior to Open Season  (LTK, PG&E, Wholesale, Core, ESPs as applicable)


  • Deadline for RPMA, Online Registration including logon ID, credit changes for Step 1 participants
  • Deadline for Assignments – All Steps


  • Hold Step 1 –Set-Aside  Round


  • Close Set Aside Round


  • Post all remaining capacity available for Step 2


  • Deadline for RPMA, Online Registration including logon ID, credit changes for Step 2 participants


  • Hold Open Season Step 2 (Round 1) – Receipt Point Access Rights


  • Close Round 1 of Open Season Step 2:  Receipt Point Access Rights assigned


  • Post all remaining receipt point access capacities available for Round 2


  • Hold Open Season Step 2 (Round 2)


  • Close Round 2 of Open Season Step 2:  Receipt Point Access Rights assigned


  • Post all remaining receipt point access capacities available for Step 3


  • Deadline for RPMA, Online Registration including logon ID, credit changes for Step 3 participants


  • Hold Open Season Step 3: Receipt Point Access


  • Close Open Season Step 3: Receipt Point Access Rights assigned


  • Post all remaining receipt point access capabilities available after Step 3

9/13 – 9/16

  • Hold re-contracting step


  • Upload all contracts to CCS/Envoy


Open Envoy to allow Buy/Exchange Rights in Envoy for contracts beginning 10/1/2011


Open Envoy to allow for purchase of interruptible contracts 10/1/2011 through 9/30/2014

Delivering Pipelines

EPN – El Paso Natural Gas Pipeline

TGN – Transportadora de Gas Natural de Baja California

NBP – North Baja Pipeline

TW – Transwestern Pipeline

MP – Mojave Pipeline

QST – Questar Southern Trails Pipeline

KR – Kern River Pipeline

PG&E – Pacific Gas and Electric

OEHI – Occidental of Elk Hills

Customers holding firm BTS capacity will be able to nominate natural gas for delivery in accordance with SoCalGas Rule No. 30, Transportation of Customer-Owned Gas.

Firm and Interruptible Receipt Point Rights

Firm backbone rights allow firm access to the SoCalGas transmission system receipt points. However, these rights do not guarantee nor imply firm service on SoCalGas’ local transmission/distribution system.

Interruptible backbone rights provide “as available” access to the SoCalGas transmission system receipt points. All unused firm backbone capacity or operationally available capacity will be made available on an interruptible basis at the G-BTS4 rate schedule and will be scheduled in accordance with SoCalGas Rule No. 30. Customers taking interruptible service will be required to execute one contract which will provide service from all receipt points.

Off-System Delivery

SoCalGas will contract with any creditworthy party for Interruptible Off-System Backhaul Service under the G-OSD tariff to the PG&E pipeline only. SoCalGas will make available physical displacement capacity at the receipt point on an interruptible basis at the applicable G-OSDI rate.

Pooling Service

Pooling is the administrative aggregation or disaggregation of natural gas supplies at the citygate and receipt point and is defined in SoCalGas’ G-Pool tariff. Each customer may have a single citygate pool contract where they will be able to nominate supplies coming through any Backbone Transmission Service Contract and nominate supplies out of the pool contract to end-users, other pool contracts, off-system, or to storage accounts. The city gate pool contract will be required to balance through each nominating cycle.

Agent Designation for Nominating and Trading Rights

A customer may opt to designate one and only one nominating agent or trading agent in addition to itself at any one time to nominate on all BTSCs under a customer’s RPMA. Customer must provide appropriate written authorization to SoCalGas of its intent to add or change a designated nominating or trading agent via the Nomination and Trading Authorization Form (Form No. 9924). Such designation shall be subject to that agent complying with applicable tariff and contractual provisions. Customer shall provide appropriate written notice to SoCalGas of its intent to terminate a nominating agent via the Termination of Nominating or Trading Agent Form (Form No. 9926).

Buying Backbone Transmission Service Rights

SoCalGas will provide eligible participants the opportunity to buy Backbone Transmission Service Rights before, during, and after the Open Season Process. Open Season Step 1 and Open Season Step 2 customers will receive a packet by mail with their maximum bidding rights based on historical usage and all necessary agreements. All participants will utilize the SoCalGas on-line bidding system for the Firm Receipt Points Access Rights during the Open Season Bidding process. After the Open Season is completed, customers will be able to buy rights via the SoCalGas EBB system- Envoy.

Below are the available Open Season options.

Buy Firm Rights in Step 1 and 2 by accepting the set-asides or bidding rights provided by SoCalGas via the Open Season online bidding system.

Buy Firm Rights in Step 3 via the online bidding system.

Re-contract your awarded rights by exchanging them to a different receipt point.

Open Season Process

The Open Season Process steps are available to eligible creditworthy participants. Participants must have a Master Services Contract, complete a Receipt Point Master Services Agreement (RPMA) and register through the online bidding system at the SoCalGas website. This online bidding website will be available only during the Open Season process.

Step 1 -- Open Season: Set-Aside Receipt Point Rights

Open Season Step 1 of the Backbone Transmission Service bidding process will be reserved for the assignment option of set aside capacity to specific customers as detailed in the G-BTS Backbone Transmission Service tariff including:

SoCalGas/SDG&E Gas Acquisition

Wholesale Customers

California Gas Producers

Certain LTK Contract Holders

PG&E G-XF Contracts

Core Aggregators

Rate Schedule G-BTS1 or G-BTS2

Term: 3 Years

Preliminary Set-Asides

Step 2 -- Open Season: Preferential Bidding

End-use customers in good credit standing with SoCalGas are deemed creditworthy to their specified maximum bidding rights. Capacity Bidding System - Online Bidding Platform

3 Rounds

Maximum Bidding Rights provided to each participant

Rate Schedule G-BTS1 or G-BTS2

Term: 3 Years


Non-core end-use transportation customers of SDG&E/SoCalGas

Non-core end-use transportation customers of Wholesale Customers

SDG&E/SoCalGas Gas Acquisition

Core Aggregators

Gas Suppliers with customer assigned bidding rights 1

Parties with tolling agreements

1 Eligible end use customers may assign their Open Season bidding rights to a third party. The assignment of rights is for the entire volume and term. The form and additional details can be found at the Backbone Transmission Service Assignment Form section.

Step 3 -- Open Season: Long Term

Any creditworthy party may participate

Available capacity is any receipt point capacity remaining after the Step 2 process

1 Round -- Rate Schedule G-BTS1 or G-BTS2

Bids Annual Base Load

Term: 3 to 20 Years

Bids with Longer Term Awarded Over Shorter Term

Customer Meetings

SoCalGas will hold informational customer webinar training in the coming months to assist customers in understanding and participating in this new program.
Dates TBD

Open Season Training Dates

SoCalGas will be hold webinar training sessions in the Open Season process. Dates are to be determined.

Bidding Rights Assignment Form

The Backbone Transmission Service assignment form is designed to allow a noncore customer with bidding rights in Step 2 of the Open Season to assign those rights to a third party (“assignee”). This enables the assignee to bid in Step 2 of the Open Season and be the contract holder of the Backbone Transmission Service rights. The maximum bidding rights would be irrevocably transferred (unless cancelled prior to the Open Season Step 2) to the other party and BTS rights awarded during Step 2 of the Open Season would be held in the name of the assignee. The assignment or transfer of rights is for the entire quantity and term and may not be divided between separate assignees. 

The election form must be completed by the end-use customer in order to allow SoCalGas to prepare the contracts, verify credit, and complete other administrative duties necessary for parties to bid for firm receipt point access rights during the Open Season, Step 2. This assignment form is valid only for the 2011 Open Season process.

BTS Access Rights Assignment Form

How to Participate

New participants to the BTS Open Season must first establish credit with SoCalGas. Non-core end-use customers of SoCalGas and SDG&E are deemed creditworthy up to their Maximum Bidding Rights and do not need to complete the application.

Current RPMA holders should review their credit limit with SoCalGas Credit Dept. based on G-BTS rate schedules.   Additional requests for credit and all other interested parties in the BTS Open Season must complete and return the Credit Application.

Complete the credit application and send to this address:

Southern California Gas Company
ATTENTION: Major Markets Credit and Collection
555 W. Fifth Street
Mail Location GT10E3
Los Ángeles, California 90013-1011

Toll Free Phone (866) 313-6622

Fax (213) 244-8316


Contact Information

For more information, please contact your SoCalGas account representative or the Capacity Products Contact Form.

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©2010 Southern California Gas Company. The above trademarks belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved. SoCalGas' energy-efficiency programs are funded by California utility customers and administered by Southern California Gas Company under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. Programs are available on a first-come, first-served basis until program funds are no longer available. SoCalGas is not responsible for any goods or services selected by the customer.

Updated 2/2011