Author Archives: Lori Traweek

Lori Traweek Winter Is Coming

giphyThose are the three simple words that capture why natural gas should be a significant part of our energy portfolio today and in the future. And it is not just because December 21 is the first official day of winter and there is nothing like natural gas to heat your home. In “Game of Thrones” there are several families vying to be king of all kingdoms. But what Jon Snow realizes is that instead of fighting each other, they need to be together fighting a common enemy, the White Walkers, who threaten all their existences.

And much like in the lands of the Westeros, there is a common misconception that the many sources of energy in the United States should be fighting for supremacy. That is unproductive and unrealistic. Rather, our focus should be on working together towards our mutual interest for a cleaner energy economy. Reliable, resilient, efficient, safe and affordable energy is core to Americans’ quality of life and we should all combine forces to work against anything that threatens that end. Winter is coming. And if we do this right, with the ability to make environmentally friendly choices that do not sacrifice reliability, resiliency, safety and affordability, it is the customer who should end up in the throne.

Natural gas is a foundation fuel and has been the key to unlocking the most substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the nation’s history by reducing the use of coal for making electricity and facilitating growth in renewables. Electricity generators have chosen natural gas for its affordability and reliability, often replacing coal-fired power plants and emitting up to 56 percent less greenhouse gases than coal for the same amount of electricity. Between 2007 and 2015, the amount of electricity generated at coal-fired power plants declined more than 30 percent. Natural gas and renewables have filled that gap, with natural gas providing about two-thirds of the electricity to plug the hole left by coal; renewables made up the other third.

But the direct use of natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying is even cleaner. From the place where it is extracted from the ground, to appliances in your home, natural gas achieves 92 percent energy efficiency. When you factor in energy use and emissions along the full fuel cycle, households with natural gas versus all-electric appliances produce 37 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions.

More homes and businesses use natural gas today than ever before: 177 million Americans, due in large part to its affordable and stable prices. Those 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. Low domestic natural gas prices have led to savings of almost $50 billion for customers who have used natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying over the past four years.

Not to mention, the natural gas delivery system is remarkably resilient and natural gas utilities plan throughout the year to prepared for the coldest days. Even during the Polar Vortex natural gas customers remained warm and toasty.

Posted in weather, winter heating | Leave a comment

Lori Traweek AGA Marks National Safe Digging Month with Natural Gas Video for Children

Safety is the top priority for the American Gas Association (AGA) and our more than 200 member companies across the country. It is the very reason AGA co-founded the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), an organization dedicated to educating professionals and homeowners about the importance of following safe digging procedures, in 2000.

811logowithshovelThis April marks the seventh annual National Safe Digging Month, an initiative put in place by the CGA to remind the public to “Call Before You Dig” to determine where your underground utility lines are located before beginning any digging project. To get started, dial 811 to be connected to your local One Call Center which will gather information about the project and alert your local utility company. Crews will then locate the utility lines near your planned project and make sure they are properly marked so you can be sure to avoid them. The process is fast, simple and free.

People digging often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked due to concerns about project delays, costs and previous calls about other projects. These assumptions can be life-threatening.

Every digging job requires a call – even small projects like planting trees or shrubs. If you hit an underground utility line while digging, you can harm yourself or those around you, disrupt service to an entire neighborhood and potentially be responsible for fines and repair costs.

According to the CGA, excavation damages for all underground facilities have decreased by approximately 50 percent since 2004, thanks in large part to the engaging and innovative outreach of “Call 811” campaigns by local natural gas utilities.

Promoting safe digging awareness is just one of the many ways America’s natural gas utilities continuously work to keep communities safe and to help ensure our distribution and transmission system continues to be the safest and most reliable method of delivering energy in the nation.

In conjunction with this month’s focus on safety, AGA released a YouTube video today to help educate youth about the importance of natural gas safety in the home. The animated video, aimed at elementary and middle school aged children, explains which appliances use natural gas, how to identify a natural gas leak and what to do if a leak occurs. These key safety messages are not only critical to family and caregivers, but the next generation of utility customers. Feel free to share the video on your company’s social media platforms.

video screen shot with play button

Click the play button above to watch the video on YouTube.

We’d also like to encourage you to share your company’s plans for National Safe Digging Month in the comments section below or by e-mailing AGA will feature member companies on our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as future blog posts throughout April.

Posted in 811, appliances, Natural Gas, people, safety, video | 1 Comment

Lori Traweek San Bruno Pipeline photos

Last Thursday, AGA, along with representatives from the media was provided with an opportunity to view the section of gas transmission pipeline that exploded in San Bruno, California, on September 9.

The 27 foot section of pipe was excavated by National Transportation Safety Administration (NTSB) inspectors and transported by truck to a NTSB research facility in Ashburn, Virginia.

The pictures shown here provide a unique opportunity to view and examine the effects on the pipe itself of this tragic explosion which claimed eight lives and destroyed 37 homes.

Analyzing the cause of any pipeline accident requires material, metallurgical and other expertise, and time.  And we, like you, are earnestly awaiting the findings of the NTSB investigation.  While it may be tempting to jump to conclusions based on these photographs, it is both prudent and professionally responsible for all involved to wait for the NTSB to release its findings.

What can cause a pipeline to fail? Historically, excavation damage is the leading cause of most serious pipeline failures.  Accident information is grouped into eight cause categories:  excavation damage, corrosion, natural forces, other outside force damage, material or welds, equipment, incorrect operation and other.

Accident cause information is available at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) website.

Posted in Natural Gas, safety | 1 Comment