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On June 11, staff of the American Public Gas Association (APGA) visited the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Net Zero Energy Residential Test Facility in Gaithersburg, MD. It was a great opportunity to see, first-hand, the facility, recently utilized to analyze gas versus electric heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in mid-Atlantic region homes. The research is to be published in the September issue of the Journal of Building Engineering but currently available in PDF form here . The study shows that under current full-fuel-cycle emissions and energy costs, there are economic and environmental advantages for homes ...
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Late last week, John Erickson provided details remembering that June 10 was the 20th anniversary of the tragic incident that occurred in Bellingham, Wash. While this was a liquids transmission pipeline, it was an opportunity to take time, as a company, and ensure safety is a priority in all you do. Hopefully, APGA members were able to take time to reflect on the incident and any lessons learned that could be implemented to provide safer operations. Go to the APGA Community to see the materials related to this if you were unable able to see John’s email. Also, if you did take time at safety meetings to discuss, please share any anecdotes with Stuart Saulters by ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, June 13, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, June 7. A 102 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 2,088 Bcf as of Friday, June 7, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 102 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 189 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 230 Bcf below the five-year average of 2,318 Bcf. At 2,088 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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This week, the Pipeline Safety Management System (SMS) Industry Team had a conference call to review second quarter efforts. Two webinars have been hosted, including one on “Beginning the Journey,” and another on “Pipeline SMS Mangers & Practitioners.” The almost-200 participants that attended the latter webinar appreciated hearing Jim Crowley, of Easton Utilities, share the perspective of a public utility regarding Pipeline SMS implementation. If you weren’t able to hear these events, the presentations and webinar recordings will soon be available on www.PipelineSMS.org. APGA members will be emailed when they are available. Additionally, there was discussion ...
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PHMSA Public Meetings

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This week APGA staff, along with Bill DeFoor of the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia, attended public meetings hosted by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). While the first portion of the event dealt with ensuring safe operations for liquids transmission pipelines that are near or cross waterways, the Administrator spoke and provided some remarks on his priorities for the agency. The focus seems to be on ensuring that there is an appropriate reauthorization legislation, so they have been working with Congress. The other part of the public meeting dealt with public awareness. Several presenters shared on a variety of topics, ...
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In early June, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued recommendations to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Gas Technology Institute (GTI), International Code Council (ICC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and others following NTSB’s investigation of an August 10, 2016 gas explosion in Silver Spring, Md. The explosion and fire killed seven residents of the 14-unit apartment building and injured 65 other residents and seven firefighters. NTSB determined that the probable cause of the explosion was the failure of an indoor mercury service regulator with an unconnected vent line that allowed natural gas ...
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Earlier this month, APGA President and CEO Bert Kalisch spoke at the 2019 Central Region Meeting for the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR). The NAPSR conference was held in Wisconsin Dells, Wis. The 11 states that comprise the Central Region include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. In his presentation, Bert highlighted APGA’s advocacy issues and promotional activities including operations & safety, pipeline safety reauthorization, direct use, and the new Natural Gas Genius campaign. Two issues were raised by regulators at the conclusion of Bert’s ...
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On June 7, Audrey Anderson, APGA’s Editorial and Marketing Director, presented at the Kentucky Gas Association’s (KGA) Annual Meeting in Sevierville, Tenn. Audrey’s presentation was on the Natural Gas Genius marketing campaign that was recently launched. APGA would like to thank Owen Reeves, from Henderson Municipal Gas, for facilitating this presentation and to KGA for their support of the campaign. Audrey began her presentation by giving background on the marketing initiative. It began in 2017 when APGA members vocalized how important an efficient communications initiative must take place to increase the direct use of natural gas. A team of APGA members worked ...
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APGA would like to welcome our newest employee, Marghet Hager, who will be the new Director of Digital Strategy. Marghet rejoins APGA after two and a half years working to foster online peer-to-peer knowledge sharing for over 100,000 Microsoft Dynamics product users as the Member Community Manger for Dynamic Communities. While at Dynamic Communities, she leveraged the community platform to foster online collaboration and create new user group communities around Microsoft products such as Power BI and Dynamics 365. Marghet was previously employed with APGA for over eight years managing our websites, database, online community, and other digital properties. She ...
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On June 6, Jenny Fordham, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), presented a webinar that provided an overview of the 2019 NGSA Summer Outlook. NGSA represents suppliers that produce and market natural gas. In her presentation, Jenny addressed several market pressure points, ranging from weather and the economy to storage and demand. Jenny also addressed wild card factors, such as hurricane activity and the potential impact that tariffs could have on the industrial sector. Jenny communicated that unlike last summer, which was 20 percent warmer than the 30-year average, this summer is projected to be 14 percent ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, June 6, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, May 31. A 119 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 1,986 Bcf as of Friday, May 31, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 119 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 182 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 240 Bcf below the five-year average of 2,226 Bcf. At 1,986 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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On June 5, Dave Schryver, APGA’s Executive Vice President, spoke at the 2019 Florida Gas Utility (FGU) Annual Conference which was held in Clearwater, Fla. FGU has 23 members consisting of a municipal joint action agency, one combination gas distribution and electric generation utility, six electric generating utilities, and 16 gas distribution systems. FGU provides a number of services to its members, ranging from gas supply to marketing and sales. In his presentation, Dave discussed the many benefits that that the direct use of natural gas provides. He also discussed the attacks on natural gas and what APGA is doing to respond to those attacks. He discussed ...
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On June 3, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao sent Congress a legislative proposal to reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Along with funding for the agency for 2020 to 2023, there were provisions included to prioritize safety, promote innovation, and encourage reliable energy infrastructure in the United States. Secretary Chao stated, “The Department looks forward to working with Congress to pass a robust pipeline safety reauthorization bill that will strengthen the safety of critical energy transportation infrastructure.” Of most importance to APGA members is the sections stemming from ...
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The Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s (LIFT) America Act was introduced by Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and there are several potential impacts to APGA members. Generally, this legislation authorizes billions of dollars in spending to improve energy infrastructure and increase energy efficiency. Subtitle C. Energy Supply Infrastructure is the section that has the most significant effect on APGA members. It provides funding to support improvements of natural gas distribution systems in low income communities. Eligible projects include replacement of cast iron or inspection and maintenance programs. Monies are also set apart to create ...
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This week, Stuart Saulters of APGA staff attended the 2019 National Energy Codes Conference in Denver. The event was hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and provided sessions on an engaging set of topics, relative to residential and commercial buildings, as well as networking opportunities. There was quite a bit of discussion on electrification; but it did seem that when full electrification was offered as the path forward, there was skepticism, given the cost to build the infrastructure needed, as well as consumer choice for natural gas appliances. Even the keynote speaker, former Governor of Colorado, ...
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Earlier this week, the Trump Administration issued their Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, identifying the rulemakings aiming to be issued in the near and long term. This is released by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is a part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Provided with the announcement of the regulatory agenda, the Administration stated that it is still committed to reducing unnecessary burdens on the American people through amending and eliminating regulations that are ineffective, duplicative, and obsolete. In particular, the regulatory agenda for the Department of Energy (DOE) has potential ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, May 30, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, May 24. A 114 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 1,867 Bcf as of Friday, May 24, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 114 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 156 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 257 Bcf below the five-year average of 2,124 Bcf. At 1,867 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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On May 23, Dave Schryver, APGA’s Executive Vice President, and Jason Stanek, Chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC), visited Easton Utilities for a briefing and tour. Easton Utilities was established in 1914 and provides a range of services to their community ranging from natural gas and electricity to water, wastewater, cable television and internet. APGA has worked closely with Chairman Stanek over the last several years and helped coordinate the visit. Jason Stanek was appointed Chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission by Governor Larry Hogan for a five-year term beginning on July 1, 2018. Prior to joining the Maryland PSC, Jason ...
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The APGA Research Foundation (RF) and Gas Technology Institute (GTI) will hold the 2019 Fall Forum this August 21-22 and APGA members are encouraged to attend! The APGA Research Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that serves as the “bank” for public gas system (PGS) voluntary research and development (R&D) contributions. The RF provides PGSs their own organization to collect and allocate voluntary dollars to R&D important to public gas customers. The RF identifies and prioritizes research projects important to contributing PGSs and ensures that project deliverables are tracked and met. Those deliverables always include commercialization prospects, ...
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Since 2011, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has been developing the next phase of pipeline safety regulations for gas transmission regulations. The original proposed Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Lines Rulemaking addressed congressional mandates, recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other changes proposed by PHMSA. PHMSA has decided to break apart the proposed rule into three separate final rules. The first of which has officially moved to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a cost/benefit analysis and approvals. This is the first of three rulemakings and it focuses ...
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