Category Archives: energy

Jackie Bavaro AGA Member Companies Commemorate 10th Anniversary of National 811 Day

This past Friday, August 11, marked the Common Ground Alliance’s (CGA)’s 10th commemoration of its annual 811 Day, which serves as a reminder to dial 811 before beginning any digging project.

Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone started a digging project without first calling 811. It’s required by law to dial 811 to mark the location of underground utilities and pipelines in your yard, whether you’re installing a fence, deck or swimming pool, planting a tree, or beginning any excavation project on your property. Once you’ve called 811, you will be connected to a local One Call Center which gathers information about your project and alerts your local utility company. Utility crews will come to your house to locate and properly mark the utility lines near the planned project to help you avoid those areas. The process is fast and free of charge.

As part of Call 811’s 10th anniversary celebration, AGA member companies educated their customers and the communities they serve about the importance of calling 811 before digging. The following highlights showcase many of the activities AGA members and partners participated in to help spread this important message:

On Friday, Washington Gas partnered with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for its annual National Call 811 Day at Nationals Park to promote calling 811 and the importance of safety.

nats game

CGA President and CEO Sarah Magruder Lyle joined Pacific Gas & Electric in ringing the New York Stock Exchange closing bell along with a coalition of damage prevention stakeholders, reminding the public to #Call811 before digging on the 10th anniversary of 811 day.

CGA stock

CenterPoint Energy in Houston, TX hosted a downtown block party complete with food and prizes, while the utility’s Minnesota branch teamed up with line marking companies for the third annual 811 5k Run/Walk followed by a kids fun run, awards ceremony, prizes and safety fair. All proceeds from the 5k benefitted Operation Warm, an organization that provides warm winter coats to children in need.

5K

Atmos Energy kicked off National 811 Day by providing pipeline safety training to the City of Waxahachie, TX. In Ellis County, TX, Atmos has seen a 47 percent increase in requests by the public to have underground natural gas lines marked since 2008. Atmos was able to locate 2.1 million underground natural gas lines in 2016, alone.

atmos

Elizabethtown Gas participated by putting together an educational video on why you should call 811 before you begin digging a project.

According to CGA, data shows that when you call 811 before digging, you have less than a 1% chance of striking a buried line. Making a call to 811 is the easiest way to make sure you are keeping your communities safe and connected.

In addition to 811 Day, the month of April is National Safe Digging Month. As part of their ongoing commitment to safety, AGA member companies do a great deal of work to promote safe digging. If you are a natural gas utility, let us know about your activities to promote calling 811 and safe digging in the comments section below or by emailing jbavaro@aga.org. We’d love to hear what your utility has in the works and to share your activities on AGA’s social media pages and blog.

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Jackie Bavaro The Next Big Market: Small and Midsize Businesses

The August/September issue of the American Gas cover story titled, The Next Big Market, examines the energy efficiency programs at PSE&G, Con Edison, and Avista, and how targeted outreach to small and midsize businesses can lead to significant energy savings for customers.

AMGAS magThe market for retrofits in small and medium commercial building is the next step in energy efficiency, with the goal of finding the right approach and most cost-effective ways to help save energy. In New Jersey, PSE&G’s Direct Install program targets small-use customers, defined as those with 200 kilowatt hours or less in annual electricity demand. PSE&G further narrows its eligibility criteria to certified nonprofits, municipal customers such as city halls and firehouses, and small businesses in New Jersey Urban Enterprise Zones that are in PSE&G’s territory. Cost-effectiveness is a key criterion in evaluating the feasibility of proposed projects. PSE&G pays 100 percent of project costs upfront, and customers repay 30 percent. Its budget for this program has been $15 million, recovered through rates, and it expects to serve 400 to 450 customers.

Con Edison’s Multifamily Energy Efficiency Gas Program targets one of its highest-consuming gas sectors—multifamily housing units—which typically shelters 30 to 40 units each. Its annual budget is $75 million, now recovered through rates. The program covers about 500 buildings a year and is nearing 3,200 total. Con Edison customer incentives support a technology upgrade in indoor temperature feedback systems, which have generated an estimated 20 percent in energy savings from heating usage by regulating boiler cycles based on indoor temperatures rather than outdoor.

Avista’s Small Business Program offers free installation of simple energy savers such as aerators, spray nozzles and showerheads for small businesses in its Washington and Idaho service territories. In addition, prescriptive rebates encourage investments in energy-efficient system upgrades. The program budget is $2 million, which encompasses the cost of the direct-labor and materials, funded from electric and natural gas Demand Side Management tariffs. As of April 2017, the program has delivered natural gas savings of more than 70,000 therms. The utility is targeting 10,000 small businesses, and about 6,000 so far have benefited from its Small Business Program. Of those, about 10 percent have pursued custom projects revealed through Avista audits, taking advantage of incentives for gas-saving upgrades to heating and water-heating systems, insulation or food service equipment.

Utilities are partnering with small and midsize businesses to enhance energy saving opportunities for their customers. By tailoring small and midsize business energy efficiency programs to local needs, experience and expectations, utilities can start to build new and highly successful partnerships.

You can access the entire article here.

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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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Richard Meyer Natural Gas Market Indicators: June 29, 2017

Consistent and possibly growing production and moderate demand are bearish indicators and ingredients for a lower pricing environment. But, lower prices have their effects too: higher natural gas to power generation and possibly lower production activity.

Will we continue to see a bounce-around of prices in a relatively stable domain between $2 and $3.50 per MMBtu? Or is there another factor that will break the market out of this range?

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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