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Public Gas News Inside This Issue

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115th Congress Begins PGPC Nominations Still Open


2017 SOAR Applications Now Accepted


Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Announces Subcommittee Leadership


Welcome New APGA Members


Commerce Committee Holds Hearing for Secretary of Transportation


Save the Date for Savannah 2017!

APGA Winter Board & Committee Meetings and 2017 Gas Supply Conference January 29-February 1 in Clearwater, FL Make your travel plans to join APGA at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach in Clearwater, Fla. For information, please go to pages six and seven or visit

January 17, 2017 Volume 36 Number 23

APGA Submits Supplemental Furnace Comments to DOE

On January 6, APGA submitted additional comments in response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNOPR) for residential furnaces. The SNOPR would establish a residential furnace nationwide mandate of 92 annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) with a small furnace exemption for furnaces of 55,000 Btu or less. Furnaces under the small furnace exemption would be allowed to be non-condensing; while all furnaces above that threshold would have to be condensing. Because of the difference in combustion technology, condensing furnaces have additional venting requirements associated that add significant dollars to the cost of installation. APGA has maintained that the additional venting requirements associated with replacing a non-condensing natural gas furnace with a condensing furnace will push many residential customers—particularly those in warmer climates—to purchase and install less efficient home heating alternatives with potentially higher greenhouse gas emissions and higher monthly utility bills.

Comments were originally due on November 22, 2016; as such, APGA submitted extensive and substantive comments earlier that day. However, at approximately 5:00 p.m. EST on November 22, DOE extended the comment period on the SNOPR to January 6, 2017. APGA’s comments communicate our frustration with DOE’s actions related to the last-minute extension, which is similar to the extension that DOE provided in the Notice of Data Availability comment period. The comments further state that the extension DOE provided “is only meaningful if it is issued well before the comment due date so that the affected parties can use the additional allotted time efficiently to maximize their available resources.” APGA’s comments also communicate that DOE “obviously knew well before the November 22 comment deadline that it would extend the date, as such decisions are not made on the spur of the moment.” A copy of APGA’s comments, as well as those submitted on November 22, is available on the APGA website at Continued on page 2

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APGA Public Gas News

Publisher: Bert Kalisch Editor: Audrey Anderson Writers: APGA Staff For questions and comments: Please contact Audrey Anderson, Editorial and Marketing Director, at 202-464-2742 or by email at

January 17, 2017

APGA Submits Supplemental Furnace Comments to DOE continued from page 1 There is a requirement that established a 45-day review period after a final rule is completed and published on the DOE website for parties to review and note any technical errors. Until the expiration of that period, the rule cannot be posted in the Federal Register, which is the action that makes regulations final and effective. This pushes any potential next steps on the furnace

SNOPR to the Trump Administration, which takes office on January 20. For questions on this article or on APGA’s regulatory advocacy efforts, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at

APGA Educational Webinars APGA is proud to offer its members webinars that provide education and best practices for public gas utility professionals. These webinars are free to APGA members. To register and learn more, please visit If you have missed any of the past webinars, or know you won’t be able to participate in future webinars, you are able to view recordings of the webinars on the website. For questions on APGA webinars, please contact Audrey Anderson of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at Municipal Natural Gas Ratings and Outlook Presenter: Dan Aschenbach Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. EST

Public Gas News is published biweekly by the American Public Gas Association

Excess Flow Valves Rule Presenters: Stephen Mayfield, Steve Sqibb, John Erickson Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. EST

Copyright 2016 American Public Gas Association

Advocacy Issues Overview for the APGA Government Relations Conference Presenters: Dave Schryver, Dan Lapato, Scott Morrison Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. EST

All rights reserved. This is intended for actual subscriber use only. You may not forward, distribute, copy or republish this newsletter in any manner without the express written consent of the American Public Gas Association.

APGA Dues Reminder APGA has sent out 2017 membership renewal information to your organization via the U.S. mail. We are also happy to offer members the option to renew online at The main contact of your organization can log in and select “My Memberships” and click on “Pay open order” to renew for 2017. If you have any questions on your login or need to change your main contact, please call 202-464-2742. You can view all the details of APGA’s 2017 dues pricing at membership-pricing. For questions, please contact Sheila Deringis at

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January 17, 2017

115th Congress Begins With the beginning of the New Year, the 115th Congress began its session. For the most part, there has been little change in the congressional makeup. Republicans still have majorities in the House and Senate although the Democrats did pick up two seats in the Senate, which may have an impact on efforts to get the required 60 votes to override a filibuster. Another notable change is that Congressman Walden (R-Ore.) has taken over from Congressman Upton (R-Mich.) the chairmanship of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. A focus in the Senate will be to move President-elect Trump’s cabinet and other nominations through the confirmation process. In addition, both the House and Senate will look at undoing several specific regulations that have been finalized in the waning days of

President Obama’s Administration. Some of the regulations that Congress may address through the Congressional Review Act include new limits on coal mining near waterways, also known as the Stream Protection Rule, as well as a Bureau of Land Management rule addressing the venting and flaring of natural gas on public lands, known as the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has 60 legislative days from when a federal agency issues a regulation to pass a resolution to deny its implementation. Efforts to oppose regulations through the Congressional Review Act have been rare given that the disapproval resolution can still be vetoed by the president. However, with President-elect Trump assuming office on January 20, it is unlikely that he would veto disproval

resolutions sent to his desk by the Congress. With the comment period on the Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNOPR) for residential furnaces being extended to January 6, action and potential next steps on the furnace SNOPR will fall within President-elect Trump’s Administration. APGA has communicated to policymakers, including members of the Trump Department of Energy (DOE) Transition Team, the flaws within the technical data DOE has used to justify the furnace SNOPR and the adverse impacts the SNOPR will have. For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at

PGPC Nominations Still Open

Nominations for APGA’s Public Gas Policy Council will be held open until just before the 2017 APGA Winter Board & Committee Meetings and Gas Supply Conference (GSC) in Clearwater, Fla., later this month. The primary purposes of the PGPC are to assist APGA in moving legislation forward that is important to its members, to oppose harmful legislation, and to provide advice on other legislative related issues of importance to APGA. Locally-elected and appointed public officials have strong, persuasive, and authoritative voices in Washington, D.C., with their elected representatives in both the House and Senate. Having a core group of elected officials carry the public natural gas message to Congress significantly strengthens APGA’s advocacy efforts. The PGPC meets annually, usually in the spring, in Washington, D.C. During this meeting, participants receive

updates from APGA and congressional staff on legislative issues affecting public natural gas systems and meet with key members of Congress and their staff to discuss issues of concern to public natural gas systems. This year’s meeting included a reception in the Senate Agriculture Committee Room, briefings by key congressional staff, and there were over 35 meetings between PGPC/APGA members and congressional offices. The 2017 Government Relations meeting is scheduled for May 7-10 and there may be an additional PGPC meeting in Washington, D.C., in September for PGPC members to meet with their congressional delegations and key regulatory officials depending upon the congressional calendar. Once nominations are received, appointments to the PGPC will be approved by the APGA Board of Directors at the GSC. If you have an elected or

appointed official from your community that would be a good advocate for public natural gas, APGA strongly encourages you to submit a nomination for that individual. Please note that if you already have an official serving on the PGPC, there is no need to re-nominate that individual. You can send your nominations or any questions to Scott Morrison at APGA by fax at 202-464-0246 or by email at You can also submit your nominations online at For questions about this article, please contact Scott Morrison of APGA’s staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at

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January 17, 2017

2017 SOAR Applications Now Accepted Operating a safe and efficient distribution system is at the core of every APGA member’s mission. Once again in 2017 APGA will recognize public natural gas systems that epitomize operational excellence through the System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) program. Join the 34 APGA members who have been recognized in the first three years that SOAR has been awarded. Please note that SOAR is awarded for three years so those systems that earned SOAR in 2014 will need to reapply in 2017 if they wish to keep their SOAR status current. Systems are judged on four criteria that exemplify a utility’s commitment to operational achievement. 1. System integrity: This means a natural gas distribution system is performing its overall intended function safely, efficiently and effectively—distributing energy to all customers without being degraded or impaired by its internal or external environment. Systems that exhibit excellence in system integrity have adopted policies and procedures for records management, emergency preparedness, regulatory compliance and system management. 2. System improvement: As in keep-

ing the natural gas system well maintained and up-to-date through a selfimprovement program that includes both an eye on the future through technology integration and a commitment to system improvement programs. Operational excellence in system improvement involves supporting research and development of new technologies for operations and gas end-use, infrastructure modernization through capital improvement programs and targeted replacement of portions of the distribution system. 3. Employee safety: When an employee injury prevention and employee safety education are core components of a safety program that is utility-wide and evident in all aspects of utility operations, including work performed by contractors. Key components of an employee safety program include adopting a safety program that includes policies and procedures for education involvement and accountability for all employees, as well as tracking safety performance. 4. Workforce development: Focuses on creative recruitment, training, education and development practices that provide a return on investment through increased employee loyalty, motiva-

tion, safety and productivity. Systems that exhibit excellence in workforce development emphasize continuing education, certification and training; encourage participation in outside organizations such as state, regional and national trade and professional associations; and have a well thought out succession planning and recruitment program. The full criteria and application can be found at soar. Any APGA member that feels it meets these criteria for operational achievement may complete an application describing its programs, policies, procedures and accomplishment in these four areas. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of experts from the Operations and Safety Committee. All systems that meet the criteria will be recognized. Application must be submitted to APGA by March 3, 2017. SOAR winners will be notified by June 1, 2017. For questions on this article, please contact John Erickson of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-0834 or by email at

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Announces Subcommittee Leadership

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Walden (R-Ore.) announced the leadership of their subcommittees for the 115th Congress on January 6. Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) previously served as chairman of the full committee; but due to rules on the length an individual may serve as chairman of the full committee, he was termed out. However, Congressman Upton will be Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy, formerly named the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. House Energy and Commerce sub-

committee leadership is listed below. - Vice Chairman of the full Committee: Representative Joe Barton (RTexas) - Subcommittee on Communications and Technology: Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Vice Chairman Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) - Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection: Chairman Bob Latta (R-Ohip), Vice Chairman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) - Subcommittee on Energy: Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-Texas)

- Subcommittee on Environment: Chairman John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) - Subcommittee on Health: Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-Texas), Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) - Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: Chairman Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Vice Chairman Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) For questions on this article, please contact Scott Morrison of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at

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January 17, 2017

Welcome New APGA Members APGA is proud to serve more than 700 public natural gas utilities around the country. We are a member and committee driven association that relies upon members to help accomplish goals for the industry. Our municipal gas members are publicly-owned natural gas systems that are owned by, and accountable to, the citizens they serve. We appreciate each and every one of our members, and thank them for participation in the only association for public natural gas. This year, APGA is pleased to welcome several new natural gas systems to our association: - Childersburg, Alabama - Lamar County, Alabama

- Benson, Arizona - Walsenburg, Colorado - Brooksville, Kentucky - Morehead, Kentucky - Hornbeck, Louisiana - Walnut, Mississippi - Stennett, Texas APGA is also pleased to announce that we have new associate members as well. Associate membership is for organizations that provide products and/or services for publicly owned natural gas distribution systems. Associate membership gives companies numerous opportunities to make personal contact with the decision-makers of the nation’s publicly owned natural gas systems at APGA workshops, seminars

and conferences held throughout the year. Associate members greatly enhance our organization. We welcome the following companies: - Amec Foster Wheeler - Bush Construction - Esri - Gold Shovel Standard - Honeywell - NJR Energy For questions on APGA membership, please contact Sheila Deringis of APGA staff by email at sderingis@

Commerce Committee Holds Hearing for Secretary of Transportation On January 11, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Elaine Chao, who was nominated by President-elect Trump, to be the next Secretary of Transportation. The Department of Transportation (DOT) plays critical roles on two issues for APGA members. The first being natural gas vehicles (NGV); and the second being the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). For the former, DOT issues rules and regulations for all vehicles, including NGVs, which are a priority for APGA members. For the latter, APGA members are subject to a wide variety of PHMSA regulations and it is widely expected that PHMSA under the Trump Administration will be less aggressive in issuing regulations. Elaine Chao is a deeply experienced public servant who worked for President Reagan as a White House Fellow and President George Bush as the Director of the Peace Corps and Deputy Transportation Secretary.

She was most recently Secretary of Labor for eight years under President George W. Bush among many other government positions. She has worked for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the Heritage Foundation, and has been President and CEO of the United Way all of which further bolster her resume and status as a Washington, D.C., insider and power broker. Given her experience and background, Chao’s nomination is expected to go very smoothly and this hearing confirmed that. Both Republicans and Democrats praised Chao’s experience and management style and acknowledged explicitly or implicitly that her confirmation was largely a foregone conclusion. Chao’s testimony focused on utilizing new technologies in all of the industries under DOT’s purview and on establishing public-private partnerships to solve problems. Chao did face a number of questions, but they were almost all friendly and focused on issues of concern to specific Sena-

tors whether on a national, macro level or on a parochial state level. There were however a number of common questions for Chao that were focused on autonomous vehicles, on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which will be up for reauthorization in approximately eight months, and on drones. Pipelines were rarely mentioned and NGVs were not mentioned at all. After sailing through the hearing, it seems very likely that Chao will be easily confirmed by the Senate Commerce Committee and by the full Senate. For questions on this article, please contact Scott Morrison of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at

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January 17, 2017


Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach | Clearwater, Florida | January 29 - February 1

Registration open for the only gas supply conference for municipal gas utility professionals! Registration is now open for the January 29-31 Winter Board and Committee Meetings, which will be followed by the 2017 APGA Gas Supply Conference January 31-February 1 at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach in Clearwater, Fla. You can visit to register. The APGA Gas Supply Conference will provide attendees with a forum to learn about natural gas supply while addressing current market challenges. A few topics and speakers include: • Gas Supply Overview by David Tucker, Vice President of National Accounts for Atmos Energy • Gas Demand by Josh McCall, Team Lead for Fundamental Analytics for BP Energy • LNG Exports by Corey Grindal, Vice President of Supply for Cheniere Energy LLC • Market Forecasting by Donnie Sharp, Senior Natural Gas Supply Coordinator for Huntsville Utilities • Natural Gas Rate Design by Lincoln Duncan, Project Manager for BHMG Engineers • Natural Gas Hub Pricing by Brad Leach, Principal for Energy Advisory Services • Prepay Panel Discussion by Al Bean from Black Belt Energy, and Tyler Noble from Municipal Capital Markets • Building Natural Gas Advocates by Randy Randolph, Vice President of Operations for Southern Gas Association, and David Holt, President for the Consumer Energy Alliance • Stranded Gas Customers by Randall Hackworth, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Thigpen Energy The APGA room rate at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach for this conference is $215 plus taxes, and reservations can be made at

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January 17, 2017

APGA WINTER BOARD & COMMITTEE MEETINGS   and GAS SUPPLY CONFERENCE  Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach | Jan. 29‐Feb. 1, 2017   

Name:      Spouse/Guest:   System/Company:   Title:       Address:     E‐mail:    






Badge Name:     Badge Name:                       Phone:      





PLEASE CHECK THE ACTIVITIES THAT YOU PLAN TO ATTEND  SUNDAY, JANUARY 29:    4:00 PM – 5:00 PM    5:30 PM – 6:30 PM    MONDAY, JANUARY 30:    7:00 AM – 9:00 AM     8:00 AM – 12:00 PM     9:00 AM – 10:00 AM    12:00 PM – 1:00 PM    2:00 PM – 4:00 PM    5:00 PM – 6:00 PM    TUESDAY, JANUARY 31:    7:00 AM – 9:00 AM    8:00 AM – 10:00 AM    9:00 AM – 10:00 AM    9:00 AM – 12:00 PM   

     MEMBER           GUEST 

Executive Committee Meeting (closed session)  Welcome Reception       


  

Continental Breakfast        Committee Meetings (refer to meeting schedule)  Spouses & Guests Breakfast       Committee Member Luncheon      APGA Board of Directors’ Meeting    Networking Reception       


          

Continental Breakfast        APGA Research Foundation Board Meeting   Spouses & Guests Breakfast       Committee Meetings (refer to meeting schedule) 


      



APGA GAS SUPPLY CONFERENCE (GSC): Registration fees listed below           TUESDAY, JANUARY 31:  11:30 AM – 1:00 PM   Gas Supply Conference Lunch         1:00 PM – 5:00 PM  Gas Supply Conference (Day 1)          5:30 PM – 6:30 PM   Gas Supply Conference Reception      WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1:  7:00 AM – 8:30 AM  Gas Supply Conference Continental Breakfast  8:00 AM – 12:00 PM  Gas Supply Conference (Day 2)   

REGISTRATION FEE:   Gas Supply Conf: $495 per person – APGA Member   Gas Supply Conf: $695 per person – Non‐Member   Total Amount Due: _______________   Check enclosed      Charge to:      Visa         MC         Amex  Account No:             __ Exp. Date:   _____ __      Security Code: ____________  Cardholder Name:       ______   __ Billing Address:            __               __ 

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach  301 S. Gulfview Blvd. | Clearwater, FL 33767 

Call‐in Reservations:  (727) 373‐1234   Online Reservations:  Premium Guest Room Rate: $215 (plus 12% taxes)  Deluxe Guest Room Rate: $265 (plus 12% taxes)  The hotel cut‐off date has passed for the group rate.   

Please register before January 13, 2017:  APGA | 201 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Suite C‐4   Washington, DC  20002   Phone: (202) 464‐2742 | Fax: (202) 464‐0246   Email: | Cell: (207) 415‐9414



201 Massachusetts Ave NE Suite C-4 Washington, DC 20002 Phone: 800-927-4204 · Fax: 202-464-0246

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January 17, 2017

THREE Great Conferences in ONE Great Location April 3-5, 2017 at the Savannah Marriott Riverfront

APGA Marketing & Sales Trends & Training Conference SIF Operations Conference APGA Gas Policy Conference

Public Gas News  

January 17, 2017

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