Category Archives: utility

Chris McGill Natural Gas Market Indicators: March 14, 2014

While it may not feel like it, the winter heating season is technically approaching its close.

Even with short-term local daily cash price peaks, natural gas futures have remained remarkably stable, generally in the $4.25 to $4.75 per MMBtu range going as far out as 2017. This reflects confidence in the ability of domestic production to meet weather-induced and growing institutional demand for natural gas in the industrial, power generation and weather sensitive small volume customer sectors.

These observations continue to support the takeaway from the Natural Gas Market Indicators publication two weeks ago which stated that the nation’s natural gas supply portfolio has handled persistent cold and major weather events very well this winter heating season.

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.

Posted in energy, environment, Natural Gas, people, utility, weather, winter heating | Leave a comment

Christina Nyquist Watch: Natural Gas Utilities In Your Community

By safely and reliably delivering energy to fuel the daily needs of customers throughout the U.S., local natural gas utilities are essential members of the communities they serve. But many companies go beyond the daily business of providing natural gas – whether by supporting local charities and community projects, fostering sustainability and helping improve their local environment, or through countless other contributions that enhance the quality of life where they live and work. Two AGA member companies have created videos that demonstrate the vital role they play in their customers’ lives and the ways they contribute to their communities.

CPS Energy, based in San Antonio, Texas, runs an annual fundraising campaign to support the United Way. Employee contributions to the CPS Energy United Way Campaign fund several local charities including the Girl Scouts of Texas, Respite Care of San Antonio and City Year. During 2013, CPS Energy employees and retirees raised over $982,000 for the United Way Campaign through donations, agency events and sponsorships. Employees also logged 11,000 community service hours in 2013.

National Grid, which serves New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachussetts has a robust Corporate Responsibility strategy to help ensure that the company meets its communities’ needs today and into the future. Their video “Making connections: creating shared value,” highlights some of the local initiatives National Grid supports including City Year, Girls Inc., environmental and Earth Day projects and more.

Check out the Boston College Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Annual Film Festival to vote for your favorite video. Today is the last day to vote though, so act fast!

 

Posted in community, energy, people, sustainability, utility, video | Leave a comment

Tracy Burleson 2014 New American Home Showcases Emerging Energy Efficiency Technology

The abundance and affordability of natural gas provides many new opportunities to expand its use throughout different sectors of the economy, including increased numbers of uses in the residential sector. The use of natural gas appliances in the home can not only help improve total energy efficiency, but can also help lower your energy bills and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.

TNAH 2014 1 2014 New American Home Showcases Emerging Energy Efficiency Technology

Image Courtesy of www.tnah.com

Visitors to the International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas, NV next week will have the opportunity to experience these emerging energy-efficient technologies and products first-hand inside the 2014 New American Home. The stunning, 7,400-square-foot home integrates an array of natural gas appliances and features, including a compressed natural gas (CNG) home fueling station supplied by Southwest Gas, which delivers a convenient, on-site way to refuel CNG vehicles using the home’s existing natural gas supply line.The efficiency created by using natural gas is just one of the many ways this home reduces its carbon footprint.

The New American Home was constructed to the highest level of the National Green Building Standard by custom builder Element Building Company with state-of the-art technology, including a solar water heater, photovoltaic panels, closed-cell spray-foam insulation and a weather-sensitive irrigation system that automatically adjusts usage relative to the immediate climate. The house, dubbed the greenest New American Home in the program’s 31-year-history, also features tankless water heaters, hydronic air handlers, intelligent fireplaces and sustainable building materials.

TNAH 2014 2 2014 New American Home Showcases Emerging Energy Efficiency Technology

Image Courtesy of www.tnah.com

Natural gas plays an important role in increasing household energy efficiency while also being extremely cost effective. Appliances using this fuel help consumers save money and increase comfort while improving the environment. According the American Gas Foundation’s new study “Fueling the Future with Nature Gas: Bringing it Home,” households with natural gas heating, cooking and clothes drying spend an average of $654 less annually than households using electricity for the same appliances.

The American Gas Association (AGA) is proud to once again partner with utility member Southwest Gas to deliver clean and efficient natural gas to the New American Home. Utility member Questar will be providing a CNG pickup outside the home, specifically a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 4WD Crew Cab 153.7.

This dynamic home will be open for free daily tours from February 4-6 via free shuttle buses (ticket required) departing every half hour from the Las Vegas Convention Center. For a sneak peak of the New American Home, watch this video below:

Reminder: AGA will also be participating in IBS on February 4-6. Stop by booth C2615 to meet with leading manufactures and learn about the latest industry innovations and technology. You can also follow AGA’s livetweet on Twitter using @AGA_naturalgas and #IBSVegas.

Posted in appliances, CNG, energy, International Builders' Show, Natural Gas, people, technology, utility, vehicles, video | Leave a comment

Lisa Dundon Lessons Learned from Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later

*Communications & Marketing Department Intern Terence Edelman contributed to this story.

On the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, it’s important to look back and reflect on the lessons learned about disaster recovery.  On Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record made landfall along the heavily populated Jersey Shore causing massive damage and devastation. Approximately 240,000 natural gas customers were impacted as the 15-foot storm surge ravaged systems across four states.

Multiple American Gas Association (AGA) member companies were directly impacted by Superstorm Sandy.

Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), serving central New Jersey, used knowledge gained from Hurricane Irene in 2011 to prepare for Sandy, including utilizing their close working relationships with local code enforcement officials to assist in safely restoring service to water-damaged appliances. PSE&G used their geographic information system and the National Weather Service river forecast models to predict flood impacts. Technicians actively assessed the service territory and reported water damage. During Sandy, PSE&G discovered that setting up field command centers to manage restoration activities and provide an outlet for customers to communicate with employees directly was beneficial.

In an effort to avoid similar damage caused by Sandy, PSE&G has introduced “Energy Strong,” a program which would “harden utility infrastructure and guard against increasingly extreme weather.

National Grid, serving western and northeastern New York, took away three major points from Sandy: plan, prepare and communicate. Reviewing the emergency plans and executing training drills prior to storm season was paramount. Before Sandy, regulator stations in areas prone to flooding were shut down and then additional stations were taken offline throughout the storm to avoid more serious damage to the distribution system.  All communication channels available (radio, social media, newspapers and community liaisons) were used to interact with customers and establish gas restoration.

PE3A0766 resized 300x199 Lessons Learned from Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later

Photo Courtesy: National Grid

In anticipation of the 2013 storm season and beyond, National Grid created the “Beyond the Meter” program to partner with inspectors, plumbers and electricians to help make residences safe to receive natural gas for heat, cooking and hot water.  They also established a Sandy recovery fund, setting aside $30 million to help rebuild communities in their service area.

New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) made it a top priority to ensure their customers along the Jersey Shore knew what was going on throughout the storm. The NJNG Facebook page became a major outlet for updating distribution, as well as receiving information from customers. Post Sandy, NJNG has said they have a much stronger relationship with their customers than ever before.

Mantoloking New Inlet Lessons Learned from Superstorm Sandy: One Year Later

Photo Courtesy: NJNG

Con Edison enhanced its system in Queens, New York as part of a $1 billion plan to fortify infrastructure. Concrete flood walls were built around stations and critical equipment, and several hundred watertight flood doors, barriers and special float-check valves were installed to protect service from future flooding.

Utilities in the affected area are not the only groups dedicated to improved disaster relief. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in California created a company-wide emergency management plan to make sure all essential pieces are in place before disaster strikes. Tasks include damage and resource modeling, logistics support, communications, and alignment with local governments and emergency responders.

The U.S. Department of the Interior is also investing $162 million in dozens of restoration and research projects to protect Atlantic Coast communities from future powerful storms, by restoring marshes, wetlands and beaches, rebuilding shorelines, and researching the impacts and modeling mitigation of storm surge impacts.

The lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy have shed light on improvements that can be made to utilities’ disaster preparation and recovery plans for the future.

Posted in Natural Gas, people, safety, technology, utility, weather | 2 Comments