What's New at NGA?

August 17, 2018
New England Governors Issue Statement on Regional Energy Affordability
On August 13, five New England Governors issued a statement on energy affordability. They stated in part:
    "The New England states, working in collaboration, commit to making energy costs in the region more affordable. In the short term, the states will actively collaborate this fall to develop a mechanism for engaging residents and business in conservation efforts during cold snaps; such efforts would communicate the economic and reliability benefits of conservation during winter months. Given state jurisdiction over energy resource choices as well as environmental policies, the New England states have a crucial role in implementing regional solutions. We look forward to working with ISO New England, New England Power Pool, and other stakeholders in achieving this goal."
The statement focuses in the fuel security analysis of ISO-NE and its implications for energy system reliability and costs. The full statement can be found online:

FERC Approves Transco's "Rivervale South to Market Project"
On August 10, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing the Rivervale South to Market project - an expansion of the existing Transco natural gas pipeline to meet the growing heating and power generation demand for northeastern consumers. The Rivervale South to Market project will create 190,000 dekatherms per day of firm transportation capacity to serve Direct Energy Business Marketing, LLC and UGI Energy Services, LLC in time for the 2019/2020 winter heating season (enough natural gas to meet the daily needs of about 1 million homes). Look for further information online:

NGA's Fall Operations Conference to be held Oct. 4-5
NGA's Fall Operations Conference will be held October 4-5, 2018 in Saratoga, NY. The conference will address the topic areas of: Customer Field Services; Safety & Health; Measurement; Damage Prevention; Pipeline Integrity; Pipeline Safety Management Systems; Corrosion; and QA/QC. Registration is underway. Look for further information online: https://www.northeastgas.org/2018_fall_ops_conf.php

Call Before You Dig!
NGA reminds its members - and the general public - of the importance of safe digging practices. In addition to the national "Call 811" program, each of the Northeast states has a local "One Call Center." They range from "Call Before You Dig" in Connecticut to "Dig Safely New York" to "One Call New Jersey" to "Dig Safe" in five New England states to "Pennsylvania811". NGA has links to all the sites linked through the "Public Awareness" section of its web site, at https://www.northeastgas.org/call_centers.php
Utilize these important resources - be aware - and be safe!

FERC Denies Rehearing of its Prior Approval of Northern Access Project, Finding that NYS DEC Waived its Authority by Delaying Action in Water Quality Certification Process
On August 6, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order denying a rehearing of its 2017 issuance of a certificate to National Fuel Gas and Empire Pipeline for the "Northern Access Project." The FERC, by a 4-1 vote, stated: "National Fuel and Empire's motion for waiver determination is granted. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has waived its water quality certification authority under section 401 of the Clean Water Act with respect to the Northern Access 2016 Project, CP15-115-000 and CP15-115-001."
The Northern Access 2016 Project includes approximately 99 miles of pipeline, one modified and one new compressor station, a new dehydration facility, and ancillary facilities. The facilities will expand firm transportation service on National Fuel's existing system by 497,000 dekatherms (Dth) per day and will expand firm transportation service on Empire's existing system by 350,000 Dth per day. The decision can be found on the FERC's web site:

NGA Files Comments with FERC Regarding Interstate Pipeline Certification Process
On July 25, NGA filed comments with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding Docket No. PL18-1-000. This proceeding was initiated by a Notice of Inquiry issued in April by the FERC seeking public comment on its approach to the certification of new interstate natural gas pipelines. NGA stated that "the current Commission Policy Statement, issued in 1999, remains relevant, practical, flexible and appropriate, even as the nation's natural gas market has been transformed in many ways over the last two decades. We do not believe that any significant changes are needed to the 1999 statement, but we do appreciate the opportunity in this docket to highlight some opportunities, challenges and concerns." NGA observed that "the most vexing issue in recent years has been state environmental reviews under the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act. The states do have authority to conduct their reviews. But regrettably, as evidenced by some examples in the Northeast region, the state review process can at times appear arbitrary and dilatory, and result in considerable delays and costs... It might be helpful for the Commission to work with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), among other entities, to undertake a review of the varying roles and responsibilities of federal and state agencies and to consider jointly ways to address both federal and state process issues in a constructive dialogue."

ISO-NE Provides Update on its Fuel Security Analysis and Efforts to Retain Mystic Units
ISO-NE in late July provided an update on its web site regarding its fuel security analysis process and its planned steps regarding the Mystic power units in Boston. ISO provided an update on its proposals to the FERC regarding its efforts to retain the Mystic units beyond the year 2022:
"On July 3, 2018, FERC rejected the ISO's waiver requests. FERC's order validates the ISO's concerns about the fuel-security risks that challenge power system operations in New England but changes the approach to addressing the risks. FERC ordered the ISO to accelerate its two-stage approach to addressing risks in the short and long term:
    1. File interim tariff provisions by August 31, 2018, outlining a process to retain generators needed for fuel security in the near term. Before the order was issued, the ISO had planned to file interim tariff provisions in November 2018.
    2. Develop and file long-term market rule changes by July 1, 2019 that would create a market-based mechanism to address the region's fuel-security risk. Before the order was issued, the ISO had planned to file long-term market rule changes in summer 2019. With market-based incentives ensuring resources have sufficient fuel, there should be no need to retain resources on fuel security grounds.

The ISO and stakeholders are meeting frequently over the coming weeks and months before making these filings with FERC."
The full ISO update can be found on its web site: http://isonewswire.com/updates/2018/7/31/update-on-iso-nes-operational-fuel-security-initiatives.html

NGA Invites Members to Attend 2018-19 Professional Development Program
NGA is pleased to invite member companies to participate in its year-long professional development program, "Leadership in Tomorrow's Utility." The program is scheduled to begin in early October, and will have three subsequent 2-day sessions, in December 2018, March 2019 and the concluding session in June 2019. It includes interactive sessions on such key leadership skills as communications, project management and negotiations, as well as updates on industry trends. The program is geared to managers and individuals who have been involved in the utility business from 5 to 15 years. Registration information is available on NGA's web site at: https://www.northeastgas.org/professional_development.php

The registration deadline is September 7.