NGA's Mutual Aid Program



NGA's "Mutual Aid Plan" is a document and process that guides the provision of aid to member utilities for emergency assistance in the form of personnel, supplies and/or equipment. NGA's Operations Emergency Mutual Assistance Plan (Plan) "provides guidelines to aid in maintaining or restoring gas utility service when such service has been disrupted by acts of the elements, equipment malfunctions, accidents, sabotage, or any other occurrences where the parties deem emergency assistance to be necessary or advisable."

In the event that a company which is not a member of the NGA requires mutual assistance, the NGA Plan serves as the governing document for the duration of the emergency mutual assistance, unless a separate, specific agreement for the mutual aid is established between the companies involved.



The NGA Mutual Aid program was heavily utilized in the fall of 2012 in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated major parts of the Northeast. The storm's impacts were wide-ranging, from transportation systems to energy. Over 2 mission electric customers lost power in the Northeast, and there were major disruptions to the petroleum terminals and gasoline network, especially in the New York City metropolitan area and New Jersey. The impacts were also serious on the natural gas distribution system. The number of customers whose natural gas distribution service was impacted in New Jersey, downstate New York and coastal Connecticut was an estimated 225,000. This storm represented the most extensive disruption to local natural gas distribution system service in the Northeast and one of the largest in the U.S.

The two natural gas utilities with the most extensive damage in the Northeast requested mutual aid. NGA distributed the request to its member companies and to its fellow trade associations - AGA, SGA and the Canadian Gas Association (CGA). The response was prompt and positive. Even as most utilities in the Northeast had to deal first with impacts on their own systems, both gas and electric, they provided help where they could. In addition, crews from utilities in the U.S. also responded, as did crews from Canada. The work conditions were difficult, and housing for arriving crews was limited due to the storm's impact. Over 800 personnel were dispatched in all to assist, from about 50 companies, from the U.S. and Canada. Equipment was also provided to replace components damaged from flooding (especially service regulators).

NGA applauds the industry for its cooperation and readiness to help.

The work continues, regionally and nationally, to improve mutual aid networks. In January 2014, a national "mock drill" was held, simulating a weather disaster in the southern U.S. that required natural gas utility mutual aid responses from throughout the U.S. NGA was pleased to participate in that exercise, along with the American Gas Association (AGA), the Southern Gas Association (SGA), the Midwest Energy Association (MEA), and the Western Energy Institute (WEI).

Mutual aid is a program that provides ready and essential support for natural gas utilities in the region.