Author Archives: Jake Rubin

Jake Rubin

About Jake Rubin

Jake Rubin is AGA's Director, Public Relations and Executive Communications. Prior to coming to AGA, Jake was Press Secretary for Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). He has worked as a communications strategist for a Congressman, advocacy organizations and political campaigns at every level. Jake holds a B.A. in American Studies with a minor in Journalism from Brandeis University. He earned his M.A. in Political Management from George Washington University. You can follow him on twitter @aga_jake

Jake Rubin 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

Photo Courtesy: NJNG

Photo Courtesy: NJNG

Five years ago today, high winds, tidal surges and flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy ravaged part of the Northeast United States. Just days after the storm, natural gas utilities began work in the bitter cold to restore gas service to thousands of homes and businesses ahead of the threat of a quickly approaching nor’easter. More than 300 utility workers that left the comforts of their homes in the south, mid-west and Canada to assist in recovery efforts.

Three years later, the American Gas Association (AGA) made this video to honor those that traveled so far to provide much-needed assistance. We told the stories of teams from Alliant Energy in Iowa and Wisconsin that drove to the affected area and New Jersey Natural Gas which provides safe, reliable natural gas to half a million customers in parts of New Jersey that saw massive devastation from Hurricane Sandy.

AGA closely monitored the impacts of recent Hurricanes like Harvey and Irma and continue to receive regular updates from government and our member companies about the effects of Hurricane Maria and other natural disasters that have touched our nation. Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by the destruction these natural disasters have caused.

Unlike that fateful day in 2012, AGA’s Mutual Assistance Program has not been activated over the past few months. Natural gas utilities have done a tremendous job keeping their systems intact and running properly. It is incredibly rare for natural gas customers in the United States to lose service and their utilities respond swiftly and effectively if they do.

We know that there is still a lot of work to do to before homes and businesses in areas recently hit by hurricanes feel like they are back to normal. AGA will continue to seek ways to assist our members and their customers as recovery efforts continue.

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Jake Rubin Harvey and Irma Assessment

Hurricane Harvey satellite image - courtesy NOAA/NASA

Hurricane Harvey satellite image – courtesy NOAA/NASA

AGA is closely monitoring the impacts of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by the destruction these natural disasters have caused. There will no doubt be a long road to recovery, and natural gas utilities in Florida and Texas, and beyond, are working tirelessly to help aid in that recovery.

During a disaster of the magnitude seen with both Harvey and Irma, natural gas utilities, first and foremost, look to confirm that all employees in the affected areas are safe and accounted for and to assess injuries or safety incidents. Thus far, we are getting positive reports from our members in the affected areas and seeing encouraging accounts in the media.

SNL Energy’s Sarah Smith reported on Tuesday afternoon that, “The gas utilities of the Southeast appear to have come through Hurricane Irma with minimal infrastructure damage despite the devastation wrought over large swaths of the region.”

Smith recounts positive news from Florida Public Utilities Co., Florida City Gas and South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.

E&E’s David Iaconangelo analyzes the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the oil and gas industry. He spoke with Richard Kuprewicz, president of Accufacts Inc., who said in the lead-up to Irma’s landfall that pipelines were often designed “so they can run independently, like an island on their own.”

The piece goes on to note that, “Operators of the Gulfstream and Sabal Trail pipelines, which deliver natural gas from neighboring states to central Florida, said Irma had not interrupted service.”

It is still too early in the evaluation and recovery process to determine whether or not the planned resilience of the natural gas delivery system performed as intended.

In July, the Natural Gas Council, which collectively represents companies that produce, transport and deliver clean, affordable natural gas throughout the United States, released a joint report, “Natural Gas: Reliable and Resilient” that provides a practical guide to the operational measures, physical characteristics and contractual underpinnings of the natural gas system’s exceptional record of reliability and resilience.

Dave McCurdy, our President and CEO, said, “all along the natural gas supply chain, from production to end-use delivery, the industry employs a portfolio of tools to help ensure protection of its facilities from both and physical and cybersecurity threats.”

Our thoughts are with all those in Texas, Florida and other areas hit by these natural disasters for a safe and speedy recovery.

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Jake Rubin Another Community Will Save Money By Switching to Natural Gas

Americans who have natural gas enjoy the benefits of this clean affordable energy source every day, and we know that those who do not have service for their home or business want it. Throughout the country, we see stories about communities and utilities working together to extend natural gas infrastructure to those who do not have access to the benefits of this fuel. Like this one in the Duluth News Tribune.

Minnesota Energy Resources is expanding its natural gas distribution system to provide service to residents of Esko, MN. Approximately 750 customers will be eligible to receive natural gas service from the utility when the projected is complete.

Esko school district Superintendent Aaron Fischer is particularly excited about this development citing the money his school system will save when they switch their boilers that use propane or fuel oil to new boilers that use natural gas. His district did a study that confirmed the move to natural gas would save both money and energy.

These types of conversions are happening across the country. Thirty-nine states have adopted or considered innovative proposals to expand natural gas infrastructure so that more citizens and businesses can access this domestic fuel source, and that number continues to grow. In April, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) established a new Presidential Natural Gas Access and Expansion Task Force charged with developing best practices and recommendations regarding natural gas service for underserved and unserved areas of the country, including, but not limited to rural communities.

switching to natgas blog

Natural gas use has led to $76 billion in savings for American businesses since 2009 and households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying save an average of $874 per year compared to homes using electricity for those applications.

More homes and businesses use natural gas today than ever before and that number continues to increase as more communities ask their local leaders and utilities to make natural gas service available to them. There are proven benefits to customers and the economy, and utilities are working every day to bring the benefits of natural gas to more Americans.

 

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Jake Rubin AGA CEO Dave McCurdy Receives Bryce Harlow Foundation Award

MCCURDY 222On April 25, the Bryce Harlow Foundation bestowed its Business-Government Relations Award upon American Gas Association President and CEO Dave McCurdy. The Business-Government Relations Award is given to a leader in the professional advocacy community in recognition of an exemplary lifelong career in the profession.

Presenting the award was Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council who served with Dave in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mr. Dooley recalled Dave’s leadership in the House and his innovative approach to solving some of our nation’s most vexing problems.

Dave accepted the award paying tribute to his family and those who supported and guided his career when he arrived in Washington, DC thirty years ago as a freshman Representative of the Fourth Congressional District of Oklahoma. He opined on his time on Capitol Hill saying, “I did not see it as a swamp but as the home of democracy and the shining example for the world of how a diverse nation can come together to advance our people, society, nation and collective vision. I loved the House and was inspired by statesmen, motivated by reformers, grounded in history, and humbled by responsibility because we shared a vision that we are Americans first.”

MCCURDY 666Dave offered some advice to the Bryce Harlow Fellows who are students in pursuit of a career in professional advocacy through government relations. The CEO said that the accelerated Internet age will force them to sift through the noise, flood of fake news and so-called opinion on social media to judge the integrity of information. He warned that this onslaught of information can engender cynicism and fear, but he offered a path forward. “I believe very strongly in the capacity of public service and community service to lift up not only your neighbors, but also yourself. Commit yourself to the betterment of those around you or those in lands far beyond yours that are in need. I can tell you – and so can so many others in this room – that it can lead to a life of fulfillment allowing you to see the best of humankind and pushing yourself to achieve things you never thought possible.”

Also honored at the Bryce Harlow Foundation 36th Annual Awards Dinner, was U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) who received the Bryce Harlow Award bestowed each year on a notable individual, most often an elected official, with a career that echoed the work and life of Bryce Harlow and which was built on championing the principles of integrity, dedication and professionalism in the business-government relations community. He was introduced by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO).

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