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On December 5, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) held a public meeting of the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC). As a reminder, this group advises DOE on efforts related to the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program. Often, they lead negotiated rulemakings for DOE. Of particular interest to APGA members, DOE’s Appliance and Equipment Standards Program includes natural gas-fueled covered products like residential furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, ranges, room heaters, wall furnaces, and floor furnaces. Commercial equipment is also in the ASRAC’s purview. APGA is fortunate to have Danny Manning of Sevier County ...
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On December 10, APGA held a webinar for its members to provide an overview of APGA’s legislative and regulatory activities in 2019. The webinar was presented by Dave Schryver, APGA’s Executive Vice President, and Stuart Saulters and Doug MacGillivray, Directors of Government Affairs. During the webinar they discussed APGA advocacy efforts on a number of issues including pipeline safety legislation, energy legislation as well as a number of Department of Energy (DOE) rulemakings. During the webinar, staff discussed efforts to enact legislation to provide the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with the authority to order refunds, in the same manner that ...
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On August 2, 2017, a portion of a school building exploded in Minneapolis, Minn. Two individuals were killed, and nine others were injured as a result. A subcontract for the local gas company, CenterPoint Energy (CPE), was making the necessary piping configuration adjustments to allow the meter set to be moved from inside the utility room to outside. The three-inch plug isolation valve was left in the open position when the piping was disconnected. The utility room quickly filled with natural gas and ultimately led to the explosion. On December 2, 2019 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who investigates transportation incidents released a Pipeline ...
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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent, nonpartisan federal agency that conducts research for the Congress, is reviewing the reliability of the natural gas pipeline system. Specifically, GAO is looking at the frequency, causes, and impacts of service interruptions experienced by local distribution companies (LDC) over the last five years. The GOA has interviewed APGA and we have assisted the effort by arranging member interviews. As part of this study, GAO has developed a web-based questionnaire that will be sent via email to about 150 randomly selected LDCs. Based on preliminary outreach with LDCs, GAO’s survey will be directed at ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, December 5, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, November 29. A 19 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,591 Bcf as of Friday, November 29, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 19 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 591 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 9 Bcf below the five-year average of 3,600 Bcf. At 3,591 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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Recently, APGA has been communicating the ongoing International Code Council (ICC) voting process to members. APGA held a webinar on this topic that was recorded and also posted online for members to view. For those unable to see the webinar, it is important to know that APGA members have the unique opportunity to be an integral part of the voting process, a role that employees of investor-owned utilities do not have. As mentioned, the Online Governmental Consensus Vote (OGCV) process is now open through December 6. If you or someone within your company is a validated voter, please reach out to APGA to obtain a list of voting recommendations and participate. ...
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Prior to Thanksgiving, APGA responded to a request for information from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (HSCCC). Their hope, with our input and feedback from others, is to inform policy recommendations that they will offer to congressional leadership. In addition to industry stakeholders, Representatives were able to submit testimony. Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) took this opportunity, and he provided valuable statements, particularly on renewable natural gas (RNG). Below is an example of his positive input to the HSCCC: “Congress is too hasty to pick winners and losers in our energy industry. I believe we need to take an all-of-the-above ...
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As efforts are made to electrify communities in the country, the California Restaurant Association has filed suit against the city of Berkeley. They are claiming the “natural gas ban is invalid and unenforceable under the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act and California’s Energy Code and Building Standards Code, and that it is an unlawful use of the police power to amend state building codes.” To see the FAQs and release from the association, visit w ww.calrest.org/government-affairs/cra-files-suits-against-city-berkeley-over-natural-gas-ban . In addition, building developers in Windsor, a town in Sonoma County, Calif., are challenging the natural gas ...
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On December 4, Erin Kurilla, APGA Vice President of Operations & Safety, spoke to the Alabama operators at the Alabama Gas Pipeline Conference. The Alabama Public Service Commission hosts the event annually and APGA is thankful for the invitation to participate each year. Erin’s presentation focused on pipeline safety legislation efforts currently underway in Washington, D.C. She walked through the various proposals introduced by the Senate and House of Representative committees with jurisdiction over pipeline safety. She also highlighted some of APGA’s programs including the new Mutual Aid Program and the APGA System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) ...
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With the release by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of its 2018 Form 176 data, the APGA Benchmarking tool has been updated to include benchmarks for 2018. The tool has also been improved to include fourteen new benchmarks related to natural gas vehicles (NGV). The benchmarking program allows APGA members to compare themselves against peers in over 100 different metrics, including operational, financial, customer and now, NGVs. Members can compare themselves with the average of over 1,500 distribution systems in the database or to a self-selected peer group of systems. For example, a member could choose to compare its results with just other systems ...
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The American Petroleum Institute (API) is in the process of updating its Recommended Practice (RP) 1162 on Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators. The original RP 1162 was issued in 2003, and in 2005 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) incorporated RP 1162 by reference in its pipeline safety regulations, making RP 1162 mandatory for public awareness programs. Operators were required to develop and implement public awareness programs meeting the requirements of RP 1162 no later than 2006. APGA developed a model public awareness plan for public gas systems and conducted a series of workshops across the country to familiarize ...
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Recent media coverage about the direct use of natural gas in homes and businesses have centered on a false premise – that the only way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to mandate electrification and ban natural gas. The truth is, natural gas has helped to reduce emissions across the country. Gas utilities have added 30 million more residential customers with virtually no increases in emissions over a nearly 50-year span. What’s more, increased natural gas efficiency and the growth of renewable energy have led to energy-related carbon dioxide emissions hitting 25-year lows. When used directly in homes and businesses, natural gas is three times more efficient ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, November 21, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, November 15. A 94 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,638 Bcf as of Friday, November 15, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 94 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 506 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 60 Bcf below the five-year average of 3,698 Bcf. At 3,638 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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On November 19 and 20, APGA staff attended a meeting conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS). The objective of this event was to kickoff a committee to peer review the analytical methods employed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in setting “standards regulations” for appliances. DOE sets these standards following procedures designated in the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), which requires various analyses to be completed to anticipate costs and benefits. There can be significant impacts on public natural gas utilities, including fuel switching, depending on how DOE completes the appliance rulemakings. ...
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Recently, the House Energy and Commerce and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees marked up and passed the SAFER Pipelines Act of 2019. This legislation is the House version of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reauthorization bill. This follows the Senate Commerce Committee’s passage of their version at the end of July. The underlying text makes several changes to existing law for distribution operators. It would require LDCs and other distributors to: capture minor methane releases during routine operations, submit distribution pipeline data to the National Pipeline Mapping System; remove the statutory cost-benefit ...
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On November 19, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved on a 14-6 vote the President’s nomination of Dan Brouillette to serve as Secretary of Energy. Mr. Brouillette will replace Secretary Perry who has announced his intention to leave the Department of Energy (DOE). Prior to joining DOE, Mr. Brouillette led the policy shops at USAA and Ford Motor Co. He also served on the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board and worked as chief of staff for former Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.). During his time at DOE, Mr. Brouillette has had a focus on promoting U.S. LNG exports. The committee also approved on a 12-8 vote the President’s ...
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On November 14, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Gas and Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committees (GPAC and LPAC) met in Washington, D.C. The committees are federally mandated and their role is to provide multi-stakeholder input on PHMSA initiatives, including rulemakings. The committees have 15 members each comprised of five members of the public, five regulators and five industry representatives. APGA membership is represented on the committee by Rich Worsinger from City of Wilson, N.C. During this meeting, there was no discussion of new rules, instead PHMSA took the opportunity to brief members on a variety of programs underway. ...
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On November 13, members of the APGA Board of Directors and the Regulatory Subcommittee met with members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington,D.C. The APGA representatives that participated in the meeting included: John Leary, APGA First Vice Chair and Gas Superintendent for the Borough of Chambersburg; John Gregg, APGA’s General Counsel; and Dave Schryver, APGA’s Executive Vice President and incoming President and CEO. The issues that were raised in the meeting included the liquidity of natural gas price indices, infrastructure, and pipeline rates. APGA leadership meets with the FERC Commissioners twice a year as a means to communicate ...
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On November 13, APGA members met with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) leadership to discuss important pipeline safety topics. PHMSA leadership included: Alan Mayberry, Associate Administrator of Pipeline Safety; Massoud Tahamtani, Deputy Associate Administrator of Policy and Programs; and, Linda Daugherty, Deputy Associate Administrator of Field Operations. APGA was represented by: Gordon King, Okaloosa Gas District; Stephen Mayfield, City of Tallahassee; Matt Stennett, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas; and, Carl Smith, Greenville Utility Commission. Discussion topics included gas system supply and reliability, the definitions of ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, November 14, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, November 8. A 3 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,732 Bcf as of Friday, November 8, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 3 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 491 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 2 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,730 Bcf. At 3,732 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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