NGA's Mutual Aid Coordination

Mutual aid is a process that involves the provision of aid to member utilities for emergency assistance in the form of personnel, supplies and/or equipment.

For decades, NGA's Operations Emergency Mutual Assistance Plan (Plan) has provided "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 required mutual assistance, the NGA Plan long served 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 Plan has been enacted several times in the last decade, notably in fall 2012 in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and in fall 2018 in response to the Merrimack Valley, MA incident.

The work continues, regionally and nationally, to improve mutual aid networks. NGA continues to work with other trade associations - such as the American Gas Association (AGA) and the Southern Gas Association (SGA) - on best practices and planning drills.

In September 2021, a joint effort by the American Gas Association (AGA), American Public Gas Association (APGA), Northeast Gas Association (NGA), Southern Gas Association (SGA), and the MEA Energy Association was announced, to expand a National Mutual Aid Program to help regions weather disaster. Several of these organizations previously had mutual assistance programs of their own, designed as voluntary offerings for those in need, since the need to restore service can often outpace the capacity of regional resources. These are the drivers behind the new, nationwide program, which allows natural gas utilities from all participating associations to respond to regional emergencies quickly and with coordination.

The National Mutual Aid Agreement becomes effective at the beginning of 2021 and runs through Dec. 31, 2025, superseding all previous agreements.

Mutual aid is a program that provides ready and essential support for natural gas utilities in the region. Its overall value is summarized well in this statement by Chris LaRose of Norwich Public Utilities of CT:

    "Mutual aid is a critical component in the utility industry, so we're always ready to lend a hand whenever we are able to. In addition to helping people in need, our employees gain important experience whenever we are able to assist another utility."