National Report on Natural Gas Access and Expansion Released by Task Force Co-Chaired by PUC Commissioner Coleman



November 29, 2017


HARRISBURG – A national Task Force on Natural Gas Access and Expansion, co-chaired by Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr., has issued a new report detailing best practices and recommendations regarding natural gas service for underserved and unserved areas of the country.

The task force, created by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), was guided by PUC Commissioner Coleman and his fellow co-chair, Mississippi Commissioner Brandon Presley, along with North Dakota Commissioner Julie Fedorchak, who served as vice-chair. The group’s review included:

“It was enlightening to see how much work is being done across the country to help residents, small businesses and industries benefit from home-grown and low-cost energy resources,” said Commissioner Coleman. “While there is no single ‘silver bullet’ that can be applied everywhere, there are numerous opportunities to move the process forward – and I am proud to note that many of those ‘best practices’ are already being used in Pennsylvania.”

The task force report includes eight recommended mechanisms and best practices for state public utility/service commissions, including:

  1. A robust, open, and transparent process for stakeholder input;
  2. No-cost line extension programs for natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs), within certain parameters;
  3. Updating NGDC contribution in aid of construction (CIAC) calculations, to reflect current market realities and expectations;
  4. Allowing consumers to pay a CIAC over time, rather than an up-front, lump-sum payment;
  5. Targeted NGDC natural gas expansion programs;
  6. An opening for natural gas expansion programs that target all customers, including large commercial and industrial users, and where appropriate, encouraging the use of anchor customers;
  7. Consideration for NGDCs financial assistance to customers to convert appliances and equipment, to help mitigate the “behind the meter” costs of gas conversions; and
  8. Innovative financial ratemaking incentives for NGDCs to build out their natural gas distribution networks.

The task force included the following state commissioners: Stephen Michael Bloom, Oregon Public Utility Commission; Julie I. Brown, Florida Public Service Commission; Robert Hayden, Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities; Kimberly A. O’Guinn, Arkansas Public Service Commission; Lon Roberts, Wisconsin Public Service Commission; Norman J. Saari, Michigan Public Service Commission; Dianne Solomon, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; Nick Wagner, Iowa Utilities Board; and Dallas Winslow, Delaware Public Service Commission.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

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Contact:

Nils Hagen-Frederiksen

Press Secretary

717-783-6152

nhagen-fre@pa.gov



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