Richard Meyer Natural Gas Market Indicators: April 14, 2016

There’s a record amount of natural gas left in storage as we head into the summer injection season. The question of headroom between current inventories and the total theoretical storage capacity creates the possibility that prices could head lower if adequate summer cooling demand fails to materialize.

A possible countervailing trend is production, which is starting to show signs of a flattening or even a slight declining trend. Countervailing that are the latent unconnected supplies waiting for infrastructure, which would be another bearish indicator all else equal. As always weather will play a key role in shaping the market this summer. Lots of factors to consider, but the fact remains: there is a lot of natural gas supply out there.

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 Natural Gas Utilities Offer Innovative Programs to Enhance Customer Engagement

The cover story for the April issue of American Gas magazine, titled “How Engaging Are You?” features three AGA member companies—Con Edison, Alliant Energy and Pepco Holdings—in their quest to offer innovative programs to provide an engaging user experience for their customers.

In January 2015, Con Edison created a unique strategy to gain insight and feedback from their customers through the Con Edison Advisory Community, an online panel designed to deliver an enhanced customer experience benefitting both customers and internal stakeholders. Since its inception, Con Edison has recruited almost 11,000 customers who interact through weekly topics delivered via online surveys. After gaining insight and feedback from these surveys, the utility is embarking on a complete redesign of its website and mobile channels in order to meet customers’ evolving needs. The site will provide customers with a simple, intuitive experience, improved mobile access, personalized content and better energy management tools in order to provide a positive, engaging user experience.

At Madison, Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy Corp., customers are taking part in a one-Capture1year pilot program called the Alliant Energy Advisor, which is designed to help engage the end-user in customized approaches to energy efficiency. As part of the program, 3,500 Alliant Energy residential customers have been able to monitor their own personalized plans for saving energy with the goal to complete at least one energy-efficient project throughout the year. This includes commitments from changing light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps or installing faucet aerators and tank insulation. As a result, participants have saved more than 525,000 kWh and 32,000 therms.

At Pepco Holdings Inc., reliability is a constant focus. According to William Stefy, the process owner of customer experience, insights come from four primary channels: transactional surveys, quarterly customer satisfaction surveys, focus groups and online panels. The goal of this survey work is to understand what customers want and need, as well as exchange and embrace customer feedback based on their experiences. This data gathering ultimately helps Pepco communicate with consumers in a more timely and personal way.

Customer engagement is a top priority for natural gas utilities and it is evident through the success of these programs. The valuable work our member companies are doing to boost customer loyalty and satisfaction is important and allows for our consumers to engage with their utilities with a more meaningful and creative approach.

To learn more about these customer engagement efforts, you can read the April cover story here.

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Lisa O'Leary National Safe Digging Month Begins

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Image Courtesy Common Ground Alliance

This April marks the ninth annual National Safe Digging Month (NSDM), an initiative put in place by the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) to raise awareness about safe digging practices and the importance of calling 811 to prevent accidents, property damage and outages.

Before you embark on any excavation project big or small, be sure to dial 811 to be connected to your local One Call Center which will gather information 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. Both the call and the service are fast, simple and free.

Construction and digging damage is the leading cause of pipeline incidents across the country, most of which can be prevented if proper protocol is followed. Thanks in large part to the work being done by CGA and AGA-member natural gas utilities to promote “Call 811,” excavation damages for all underground facilities have drastically decreased by approximately 50 percent since 2004.

Throughout this month, AGA will be highlighting the creative ways local natural gas utilities are educating the public about this crucial, and potentially life-saving, program on Twitter, Facebook and the True Blue Natural Gas blog. Let us know what your utility has planned by posting below or emailing Jackie Bavaro at jbavaro@aga.org.

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Jackie Bavaro Natural Gas Utilities Launch New EPA Program to Reduce Emissions

A concerted effort by natural gas utilities to upgrade our nation’s pipeline network in order to enhance safety has also contributed significantly to a declining trend in emissions from the natural gas distribution system. A report published last year led by a team from Washington State University and sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund found that as little as 0.1 percent of the natural gas delivered nationwide is emitted from local distribution systems.

In an effort that will help contribute to this declining trend, nearly 40 AGA-member natural gas utilities launched the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program, a voluntary partnership between EPA and the U.S. oil and natural gas industry, focusing on achieving cost-effective and flexible methane emission reductions from natural gas operations. The Founding Partner companies present at the launch operate in 43 states, represent nearly 70 percent of natural gas customers and operate 1,284,064 miles of natural gas distribution mains and services nationwide.

The new and innovative program was launched on March 30 at the Global Methane CaptureForum, hosted by the Global Methane Initiative and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which brought together policymakers and industry experts from more than 50 countries. At the launch ceremony, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe personally acknowledged and greeted representatives from each of the Founding Partner companies and noted that the Program “complements regulatory efforts that will help the U.S. meet the Obama Administration’s goal of reducing methane emissions by 40-45 percent by 2025.”

Partner companies participating in the program will have made company-wide commitments to implement a host of best management practices across their operations within five years. This will allow companies to showcase their efforts in reducing natural gas emissions, improving air quality and capturing and monetizing this valuable energy resource. Partner achievements will be publicly recognized and tracked by submitting annual data directly to EPA.

Having 39 AGA-member companies present as Founding Partners was an impressive showing that demonstrates the deep commitment and dedication of our industry, but it’s important to note that additional companies can join the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program at any time.

Click here for a complete list of companies who joined the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program.

 

 

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