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April is National Safe Digging Month! This is the time to remind residents to always call 811 before any digging project. National Safe Digging Month is formally recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and has traditionally earned the support from nearly every state governor across the country. When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. By calling 811 to have the underground utility lines in their area marked, homeowners and professionals are making an important decision that can help keep them and their communities safe ...
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On March 31, the Trump Administration finalized its Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles final rule. This final rule reflects the administration’s updates for corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for model years 2021 through 2026. The SAFE Vehicles rule had been in the works for several years and governs the fuel economy and tailpipe emissions of light duty vehicles. This includes alternative fuel vehicles, like natural gas vehicles. The SAFE Vehicles rule contains a number of provisions that impact natural gas vehicles (NGVs). The two-x sales multiplier for NGVs was extended, doubling value or credits generated by each NGV in a fleet. ...
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On March 27, APGA provided a comment to the Department of Labor (DOL) regarding the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). In its input to DOL, APGA asks for recognition of the need for utilities to maintain a normal work schedule, specifically asking for appropriate exclusions from FFCRA leave requirements. There may be a need for this, as a fully-staffed public natural gas utility workforce ensures Americans have the energy they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. APGA’s comment hopes to inform DOL’s guidance to employers and employees on FFCRA implementation. In addition to the submitted comment, APGA staff continues to engage ...
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On March 31, APGA staff with the support of the Codes and Standards Committee, filed comments with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as they are looking at amending the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. Considering many APGA members provide energy to manufactured housing, it is important to engage HUD, ensuring they keep safety a top priority. In its feedback, APGA offered support of the comments submitted by the American Gas Association (AGA), as well as specifically recommending that HUD extend the carbon monoxide (CO) alarm requirements to all HUD-jurisdictional manufactured housing. To see APGA’s comments, ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, April 2, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, March 27. A 19 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 1,986 Bcf as of Friday, March 27, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 19 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 863 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 292 Bcf above the five-year average of 1,694 Bcf. At 1,986 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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After numerous iterations, the Senate finally passed the Phase 3 coronavirus aid package on a unanimous 96-0 vote late on the night of Wednesday, March 25. Most of the provisions in Phase 3 are general payments, loans and grants to individuals and businesses, business and tax regulatory relief, as well as support for the healthcare sector. The bill includes $150 billion in funds for state, tribal, and local governments for use during the coronavirus emergency, various employer and employee support provisions, and increasing funds for the production of materials needed under the Defense Production Act. APGA continues to analyze the bill for other items of concern ...
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On March 24, APGA held a webinar on basic gas cost of service concepts. “Cost of service” is a method to equitably allocate the revenue requirements of the utility among the various customer classes of service. The webinar was given by Mark Beauchamp, President of Utility Financial Solutions. The webinar addressed the basic concepts of a gas distribution cost of service study, the data necessary to conduct an accurate and defensible study and the key information used to design customer rates. This webinar also communicated to participants an overview of the cost of service process including development of cost allocation factors, importance of a gas cost adjustment ...
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APGA is conducting the newly-formatted biennial salary survey on both management and non-management personnel working for public natural gas systems. APGA needs gas systems to help, and encourages completing the survey online at http://2020salarysurvey.questionpro.com . If you would prefer to fill out a paper copy of the survey, it is available for download at www.apga.org/resources/salarysurvey . Please return the survey to the APGA office no later than Friday, April 17. The success of this survey is dependent on the number of responses received, so your assistance in taking time to complete this survey is greatly appreciated. The results of the survey will ...
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After days of discussion and compromise, the U.S. Senate, House and White House have agreed to a supplemental increase of $900 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds. These additional funds are part of the historically large $2 trillion stimulus bill called the  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security ( CARES) Act which was  passed by the House of Representatives and signed by the President on March 27, 2020, and  will be made available to states, territories, tribes and tribal organizations as soon as possible. The final LIHEAP supplement is a compromise reached by the Senate, which had proposed $250 million, and the House, ...
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On March 20, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a Notice of Stay of Enforcement and Notice of Enforcement Discretion to Operators Affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak . “PHMSA understands that some pipeline operators are finding it extremely difficult to meet one or more of these regulatory requirements because of personnel and resource constraints due to the National Emergency and have sought temporary relief as they develop strategies and alternatives for maintaining normal operations and protecting the health and safety of their personnel and the public.” The stay informs operators that PHMSA does not intend ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, March 26, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, March 20. A 29 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 2,005 Bcf as of Friday, March 20, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 29 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 888 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 292 Bcf above the five-year average of 1,713 Bcf. At 2,005 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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On March 16, APGA submitted comments in response to the Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNOPR) of the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) concerning modification of its Process Rule. Specifically, EERE wanted input on the “walk-down” process. This particular element of the appliance efficiency standards program aims to ensure that there is economic justification for changes to equipment standards, meaning an appropriate comparison of the benefits and burdens. In the past, the appliance efficiency rulemakings may have simply adopted the max-tech without clear consideration of all the burdens weighed ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, March 19, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, March 13. A 9 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 2,034 Bcf as of Friday, March 13, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 9 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 878 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 281 Bcf above the five-year average of 1,753 Bcf. At 2,034 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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APGA would like to update members on our response to COVID-19, also referred to as the Coronavirus. APGA continues to closely monitor the situation. Our focus during these times will be to support our members in any way we can to help them navigate the COVID-19 related challenges they are facing. Recent APGA activities surrounding this issue are: APGA has created a virtual roundtable that is held at 11:00 AM ET every Monday, Wednesday and Friday dedicated to discussing the COVID-19 situation and how it is impacting daily natural gas distribution operations. Starting April 6, the Virtual Roundtable schedule will be twice a week and held at 11:00 AM ET every ...
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On March 16, APGA held a webinar on financial planning for gas utilities. The webinar was given by Mark Beauchamp, President of Utility Financial Solutions. The webinar is available to all public natural gas employees but may be of particular interest to general managers, finance and accounting personnel, rate analysts, financial planners, as well as policymakers. During the webinar, Mark addressed how to assess and define revenue requirements for a gas utility, discussing the cash basis and utility basis methodologies. The webinar also provided information intended to help attendees assess their utility’s financial health and plan for infrastructure replacement. ...
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On March 12, the Senate approved on a 52-40 vote the President’s nomination of James Danly to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Mr. Danly would fill the seat formerly held by the late Chairman Kevin McIntyre, with a term expiring on June 30, 2023. Mr. Danly previously served as FERC General Counsel. Prior to joining FERC, Mr. Danly was a member of the energy regulation and litigation group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP. The President nominated Mr. Danly last year and his nomination was approved in November on a 12-8 vote in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee but the nomination never came before the full ...
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One aspect of the Plastic Pipe Rule published by Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on November 20, 2018, was the required use of Category 1 mechanical fittings on plastic pipe. In the American Gas Association’s (AGA) Petition for Reconsideration, AGA raised issue with the commercial availability of fittings four inches or greater that meet the new requirements. The specific concern was for plastic to metallic connection fittings. On March 1, 2019, PHMSA provided a delayed enforcement of this specific requirement until January 22, 2020 to allow additional time to develop and test larger mechanical fittings. After careful consideration, ...
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APGA would like to update members on our response to COVID-19, also referred to as the Coronavirus. APGA continues to closely monitor the situation and our staff is participating on weekly calls with the Oil and Natural Gas Subsector Coordinating Council, which serves as a forum to coordinate oil and natural gas security strategies, activities, policy, and communication across the sector to support the nation's homeland security mission. Updates and developments that come out of those calls are being posted on the APGA Community. APGA held a webinar addressing utility emergency preparedness and response plans to help our members prepare for pandemic planning. ...
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APGA staff and members of the APGA Board of Directors will speak at the 20th Annual Southeast Forum where 500+ of the natural gas industry’s leaders gather April 6-8 in Atlanta for three days of networking, insights, and deal-making. APGA's Vice President of Government Relations, Stuart Saulters, will give the opening keynote called How Public Gas Systems are Speaking Up. From legislation to regulation to social and print media, the American Public Gas Association is actively engaging in conversations on the use of natural gas. Attendees will hear about some of the initiatives APGA is undertaking to protect customers’ right to safe, affordable, reliable natural ...
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On March 15, APGA will send this month's Did You Know? series in an email that will be sent out to members on the topic of Natural Gas Utility Workers' Day. This resource is intended to provide APGA members with information every month that they can share with audiences such as customers, policymakers, media, employees, etc. This information helps members communicate the benefits of natural gas on a variety of topics. You are welcome to use the facts and graphics in your own communication such as via bill stuffers, social media, talking points and website. To view previous issues, please go to www.apga.org/resources/did-you-know . For questions, please contact ...
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