Jackie Bavaro Comprehensive Study Explores the Benefits of Expanding Natural Gas Service to the Growing Inventory of Multifamily Buildings

Today, the American Gas Foundation released a study published by ICF International titled, “Expanding Natural Gas Service to Multifamily Buildings,” focusing on ways in which state and local government, natural gas utilities, and other interest groups have worked to improve access to natural gas service in multifamily structures in their localities. The study assesses regulatory or policy barriers to providing natural gas service to multi-unit structures, and presents possible solutions to help bring the benefits of natural gas to the owners and occupants of these buildings.

In the past decade, multifamily construction has risen from less than 25 percent to one-worldthird or more of newly-built residential dwelling units. Notably, if natural gas technologies were applied across all or part of the nation’s multifamily building stock, unit occupants could realize $2.2 billion in reduced annual energy bills, or about six percent of total energy expenditure for multifamily units in the U.S. Additionally, CO2 emissions would be reduced by more than 20 million tons, nationwide.

To that end, multifamily construction is projected to sustain a high share of new housing construction over the next 20 years. This will include enormous benefits for providing access to natural gas in multifamily buildings—both for the environment and the bottom line of the residents that live there. Understanding that multifamily buildings are made up of a wide-range of building types with unique characteristics and needs is critical when looking to expand natural gas service to this growing market.

The study also highlights utility-led initiatives that have demonstrated success, and describe lessons learned through these efforts to provide insight to other utilities with similar goals to serve these communities.

You can view the report along with the case studies here.

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Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: August 31, 2016

An interesting dynamic has developed this year regarding storage injections. While injections have been modest due to power generation loads, but consistently positive in the East, Midwest and Mountain regions, the South Central region has demonstrated a different pattern: working gas inventories in the South Central (producing) region have declined for eight of the nine weeks going back to mid-June. This is, of course, partly a function of salt cavern flexibility in injection/withdrawal cycling and the demand created by a hot summer.

Compared to historical operations, this is remarkable. It is also indicative of where exactly the market is working to rebalance following tepid withdrawal season that left a near 50 percent above-average supply glut as injections resumed earlier in the year. The flexibility of the US natural gas market is shown here in high relief.

Visit this link to download the full Natural Gas Market Indicators report. Topics covered in this week’s report include: Reported Prices, Weather, Working Gas in Underground Storage, Natural Gas Production, Shale Gas, Rig Counts, Pipeline Imports and Exports, and LNG Markets. Please direct questions and comments to Chris McGill at cmcgill@aga.org or Richard Meyer at rmeyer@aga.org.

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Jackie Bavaro #FuelingOurCommunities: Taking Care of the Environment

Natural gas utilities are #FuelingOurCommunities by making philanthropy a top priority. Be it providing meals to the homeless, supporting military veterans, or helping adults learn to read or earn a GED, natural gas utilities are true partners of the communities they serve.

This month, we are spotlighting Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Dominion and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and the variety of programs they offer to help their customers and employees actively take part in caring for the environment. In April, our members celebrated Earth Month as well as Arbor Day and activities ranged from tree plantings and beautification projects to park and downtown cleanups and much more.

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Students taking part in Dominion’s Project Plant It! tree planting activities.

Thanks to Dominion’s Project Plant It! program, students are inspired to connect with the environment by getting involved with hands-on activities that demonstrate how trees can help to moderate climates, clean the air, provide homes for wildlife and prevent soil erosion. Along with classroom materials, each child in participating classes received a free Eastern Redbud tree seedling to plant at home in honor of Arbor Day.

Since its launch in 2007, Project Plant It! has helped to teach and inspire hundreds of thousands of young students to care for the environment by planting trees. The program has distributed more than 350,000 free tree seedlings to elementary school students in regions where Dominion operates and according to the Virginia Department of Forestry, that equates to about 875 acres of new forest, if all reach maturity.

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SDG&E offers tips for safe planting during Arbor Day celebration.

Similarly, SDG&E offered best practices when planting trees throughout National Safe Digging Month and during its annual Arbor Day celebration in April. As part of SDG&E’s commitment to proper tree care, public education and the environment, SDG&E hosted an Arbor Day tree-planting event with a local elementary school in Poway, CA. Joined by students, teachers, local elected officials, and the California Fire and Urban Corp. of San Diego, SDG&E worked with teams of students to plant over 20 trees around campus. When planting trees, kids were encouraged to keep the future growth of the tree in mind. Often times, as trees grow to mature heights, they can interfere with overhead power lines and in some cases underground utility lines.

Notably, for 13 years, SDG&E has been recognized as a Tree Line USA Utility, which identifies public and private utilities throughout the nation that demonstrate practices that protect and enhance America’s urban forests.

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Justin Kephart, a vegetation program manager at PG&E, talks to students at Liberty Elementary School in Santa Maria about the importance of trees, the benefits they provide and proper tree care practices.

In addition, PG&E participated in its fourth annual company-wide Month of Service celebration. PG&E customers, employees and their families participated in a variety of volunteer projects including planting native and drought-tolerant vegetation, installing rain barrels and removing trash and invasive plants to create a more welcoming and sustainable environment. The events were anchored by Earth Day projects in partnership with the California State Parks Foundation. PG&E also provided a $200,000 grant to the California State Parks Foundation for the supplies and materials to complete 10 Earth Day projects throughout Northern and Central California.

Natural gas utilities are making an impact at the local level, and yet there is a broader meaning to their dedicated action. By caring for their communities, they are lifting up our nation—helping families save money, creating good paying jobs and reducing our impact on the environment. Please use the hashtag #FuelingOurCommunities to highlight how you’re giving back so we can promote your good work on our social media channels.

Next month, we will be highlighting efforts advocating for education. Please share your initiatives with us in the comments section below or by emailing jbavaro@aga.org to be featured on the True Blue Natural Gas blog.

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Jackie Bavaro AGA Members Celebrate National 811 Day

On August 11, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) along with the American Gas Association (AGA) and its member companies celebrated National 811 Day to promote safe digging practices and the national Call Before You Dig campaign.

811 is the national telephone number that initiates the process of marking the underground utility lines in a homeowner’s yard. Whether you’re planting a tree, building a deck or installing a fence, a call to 811 is legally required before you are scheduled to begin any type of digging. Due in large part to the work done by the pipeline industry in promoting the use of Call 811, excavation damages for all underground facilities have decreased by approximately 50 percent since 2004.

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PHMSA and AGA employees celebrate 811 Day at Nationals stadium.

As part of the CGA’s National 811 Day, AGA member companies and many companies that build, operate and maintain underground pipelines and wires held events and promoted awareness to alert the public about this important service. This year, AGA staff joined representatives from Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration at a Washington Nationals baseball game where Call 811 was the sponsor and messages about calling before you dig could be seen throughout the stadium.

Columbia Gas of Ohio: Ground is officially broken with City of Gahanna with Pat Tiberi and Mayor Kneeland on 811 Day.

Columbia Gas of Ohio: Ground is officially broken with City of Gahanna with Pat Tiberi and Mayor Kneeland on 811 Day.

Additionally, Columbia Gas of Ohio, which has responded to a report of a damaged line more than 750 times this year alone, has asked communities across the state to pledge a simple promise to call 811 at least two business days before digging any project. Meanwhile, South Jersey Gas hosted its first 811 Day ‘Dig Safe Fair’ to inform local contractors and community members about safe digging best practices. Also, in partnership with National Grid, Dig Safely New York hosted a live demonstration on a mark out of underground utility lines at an active construction site in its Eastwood neighborhood.

Excavation damage continues to be the leading cause of pipeline incidents in the United States. Though improvement is being made, thanks in large part to the outreach efforts of AGA member companies, industry leaders and other stakeholders on this issue. If you are a utility and have a unique and interesting way you’re promoting Call 811, let us know in the comments section below or by emailing Jackie Bavaro at jbavaro@aga.org.

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