What's New at NGA?

December 7, 2018
Important Gas Safety Awareness Information
NGA has an extensive information section on its web site addressing the important issue of natural gas safety. Learn more here about safe operations of natural gas: https://www.northeastgas.org/gas_public_awareness.php

NGA Issues RFP for Consulting Assistance Regarding Pipeline Safety Management System Development and Implementation
On November 26, NGA announced the release of a Request for Proposal regarding the development and implementation of a Pipeline Safety Management System, or PSMS. Responses are due by end of the business day on January 11, 2019.
Pipeline Safety Management Systems, ANSI/API Recommended Practice 1173 was developed to provide a vehicle and structured approach to transform operational mindsets and ultimately pipeline operations safety culture.
This Request for Proposal ("RFP") is seeking consulting assistance to determine current membership approaches and progress in adopting RP 1173 core elements into day-to-day operations and to develop strategic and tactical plans to ensure a consistent approach to adopting Pipeline Safety Management System principles. NGA proposes to seek the assistance of a safety management system consultant with specific experience in RP 1173 applications and pipeline operations.
NGA's Massachusetts Local Distribution Companies ("LDC") will be participating in this RFP. NGA anticipates that other LDCs from the Northeast States will also participate in this project. Bidders should include in their proposal plans to handle additional companies outside of Massachusetts and impacts to timelines and costs.
The RFP is posted on the NGA website: https://www.northeastgas.org/pdf/nga_rfp_psms.pdf
Questions can be directed to José Costa of NGA at: jcosta@northeastgas.org

FERC issues order accepting ISO-NE Proposal to Retain Retiring Resources for Fuel Security
On December 3, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order accepting ISO New England's interim tariff changes to retain resources seeking retirement on the basis of a fuel-security reliability need. ISO-NE said: "The proposal was filed August 31, following a months-long stakeholder process to address fuel-security concerns in the near term. These changes will be in effect for the 13th, 14th, and 15th Forward Capacity Auctions, which run for capacity commitment periods 2022-2023, 2023-2024 and 2024-2025. With the interim changes in place, the ISO will continue to work with stakeholders to develop a market-based mechanism to address long-term fuel-security challenges facing the region."

NGA & SGA Presenting Supply Chain Management Conference in February
NGA is pleased to be a co-sponsor of an upcoming conference on Supply Chain Management. The conference is being organized by the Southern Gas Association (SGA) and will be held February 20-22, 2019 in Point Clear, AL. The conference will bring together supply chain professionals from natural gas midstream, pipeline, and distribution companies with businesses that provide goods and services to the industry. Educational sessions will focus on strategic supply chain and project development challenges impacting natural gas operators. Look for further information online: https://southerngas.org/index.php/interest-groups/197

Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. Announces Agreement to Acquire Enbridge Gas New Brunswick
On December 4, Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. ("APUC" or "the Company") announced that its subsidiary Liberty Utilities (Canada) LP ("Liberty Utilities") has entered into an agreement to purchase Enbridge Gas New Brunswick Limited Partnership ("New Brunswick Gas"), a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc. (TSX: ENB), along with its general partner for C$331 million, subject to certain customary adjustments (the "Transaction"). New Brunswick Gas is a regulated utility that provides natural gas to approximately 12,000 customers in 12 communities across New Brunswick, and operates approximately 800 km of natural gas distribution pipeline.
"The acquisition of New Brunswick Gas builds on the growth strategy for Liberty Utilities' East Region through the addition of a new, high-quality utility while being immediately accretive to APUC's earnings," said Ian Robertson, Chief Executive Officer of APUC. "As a proudly Canadian company, we see New Brunswick Gas as an ideal opportunity to expand the distribution footprint into Canada, where we see tremendous potential to invest in growing the customer base. We look forward to welcoming the New Brunswick Gas team to the APUC family, and are committed to supporting the dedicated teams as they continue to deliver the same great services across the province."
Look for further details here: http://investors.algonquinpower.com/file.aspx?IID=4142273&FID=395983090

NGA's "2018 Statistical Guide" Available Online
NGA has posted online the 2018 version of its "Statistical Guide," an annual review of statistics and trends relating to the region's natural gas industry. Look for the document here: http://www.northeastgas.org/statguide.php

NTSB Releases Urgent Safety Recommendations Related to Merrimack Valley Incident
On November 14, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released an urgent report, related to the investigation of the September 13, 2018 Merrimack Valley incident. Entitled "Safety Recommendation Report: Natural Gas Distribution System Project Development and Review (Urgent)," the report includes recommendations for both the natural gas utility and the state regulatory agency. The report can be found online: https://ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/PSR1802.aspx

NARUC Releases Paper on LNG Market
In November, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) released a paper entitled: "LNG: A Local Market - A Global Market." The report is an introductory handbook for state public utility commissioners, and was authored by Commissioner Diane X. Burman of the New York State Public Utility Commission (chair of NARUC's Committee on Gas), and Andreas Thanos of the MA Department of Public Utilities. The handbook is designed to assist regulators in understanding the regulatory and market frameworks for liquefied natural gas (LNG). The paper is online at: https://pubs.naruc.org/pub/248CFB83-A111-8809-A940-485C431DF253

U.S. HHS Releases Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Funding for States
On October 26, the Office of Community Services (OCS), Division of Energy Assistance (DEA), of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced the initial release of approximately $3.65 billion of Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 regular block grant funding to LIHEAP grantees. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. The 9 Northeast states are receiving $1 billion of the total allotment, as follows: CT, $75 million; ME, $39.7 million; MA, $136.4 million; NH, $27.2 million; NJ, $124 million; NY, $372.4 million; PA, $206.4 million; RI, $23.7 million; and VT, $20.4 million. Further information can be found at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/resource/dear-colleague-notice-on-liheap-fy-2019-funding-release

FERC Winter Assessment Raises Concerns About Spot Price Volatility in NYC, Boston & LA Markets
Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission presented the FERC's "Winter Energy Market Assessment" on October 18. Among the observations:
  • "Regional pipeline constraints in New York City, Boston, and Los Angeles increase the risk of price volatility."
  • "Basis futures prices in New York City and Boston averaged $6.03/MMBtu and $8.21/MMBtu, up $0.47/MMBtu and $3.40/MMBtu respectively from last year. This suggests a market expectation that both regions may face pipeline transportation constraints this winter."
  • "Should similar cold weather materialize this winter, pipeline constraints on Algonquin Gas Transmission, Transcontinental Pipeline, and Tennessee Gas Pipeline could result in high gas prices at Transco Zone 6 near New York City, Algonquin Citygates in ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE), and Transco Zone 5 South in PJM Interconnection LLC (PJM)."
  • "Dependence on natural gas for power generation continues to increase."

The report is online at: