Regulatory Matters - Fourth Quarter 2021

Natural Gas
Company News
Regulatory News
January 11, 2022
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Northeast Natural Gas Pipeline Projects

New England – Natural Gas

The U. S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Pipeline Projects Tracker (New natural gas pipeline capacity expands access to export and Northeast markets - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)) identifies a number of key natural gas pipeline projects that have entered into service increasing natural gas supplies to constrained demand markets in the Northeast.

Two projects will improve New England’s access to winter supplies of natural gas by over 100 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d): (1) In October 2021, Compressor Station 261 completed its second and final phase bringing an additional 20 MMcf/d of additional natural gas supply from the Tennessee Gas Pipeline into the New England region; and (2) Phases 2 and 3 of the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System’s Westbrook Xpress Project entered into service in October 2021 increasing the natural gas pipeline import capability from Canada by 81 MMcf/d, and the new Westbrook compressor station will increase capacity on Maritimes & Northeast pipeline by 50 MMcf/d. In addition, in September 2021, the Middlesex Expansion Project entered into service in New Jersey expanding the delivery of natural gas from the Texas Eastern Transmission (TETCO) Gas Pipeline system by 264 MMcf/d.

Potential Expansion of Competitive Electric Supply

Michigan – Electric

Michigan legislation currently limits that no more than 10 percent of an electric utility’s average weather-adjusted sales for the preceding calendar year may take service from an Alternative Electric Supplier at any time. State lawmakers have introduced legislation, Michigan Senate Bill No. 695, that would amend the Michigan Statute to allow an industrial customer to purchase electricity from an Alternative Electric Supplier regardless of the 10 percent cap. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an eligible industrial customer may purchase electricity from an alternative electric supplier, regardless of whether the sales exceed 10% of the serving electric utility's average weather- adjusted retail sales, if the eligible industrial customer enters into a power supply contract with an alternative electric supplier that, for a duration no less than 3 years, provides capacity for a minimum 80% of the eligible industrial customer's projected annual peak load contribution value from a resource located within the same local resource zone or locational deliverability area in which the eligible industrial customer is located and agrees to provide a minimum of 5 years' notice before returning to full utility service.

Extension of Waiver

Pennsylvania – Natural Gas

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission issued a Secretarial Letter extending the waiver and maintaining the current five-day waiting period during which a natural gas supplier switch request may be canceled before the switch takes place. This will remain in effect until October 25, 2024.

Potential Expansion of Competitive Retail Choice

Texas – Electric

The Texas Public Utility Commission has commenced an investigation to examine the potential for customer retail choice in the areas of Texas outside of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Specifically, this pertains to the areas served by Entergy Texas, Southwestern Public Service Company, Southwestern Electric Power Company, and El Paso Electric Company represented by the unshaded areas in the map. The Commission is currently welcoming stakeholder comment on whether the Texas Public Utility Commission should move forward with competitive electric retail choice in these service areas.

Community Choice Aggregation Considerations

Connecticut – Electric

The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority conducted a study to assess the opportunities and challenges of community choice aggregation implementation in Connecticut. This research does not provide a determination as to whether or not Connecticut should implement community choice aggregation within the state of Connecticut; however, it identifies a number of factors that should be considered should policymakers decide to design and implement a program. A few noteworthy points to consider in the potential development of community choice aggregation are as follows: (1) the legislature would likely need to balance the interests of both participants and non-participants; (2) the legislature may want to consider the degree and duration of oversight of the program the Authority would hold; and (3) given the potential impacts on standard offer service and other state policy issues, the Authority opines that, a degree of regulatory oversight similar to that which it exercises over competitive electric suppliers may be necessary.

Winter Weather Preparedness

Texas – Electric & Natural Gas

Energy regulators in Texas have undertaken measures to assure winter weather preparedness and to manage the electricity grid during the winter season. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) submitted to regulators a report on compliance with weatherization requirements with 847 electric generating resources, over 99 percent of installed generation capacity, meeting the filing deadline. Other efforts aimed at maintaining the integrity of electric grid operations in Texas include the following: (1) the Texas Public Utility Commission reduced the cap on high prices that can be charged from $9,000 per megawatt-hour to $5,000 per megawatt-hour; (2) the Commission and the Texas Railroad Commission adopted a rule to designate natural gas facilities that are critical to the operation of the electric grid so that their power will not be shut off during emergencies such as a severe winter storm; (3) ERCOT’s Emergency Response System that allows large electric consumers to curtail their usage under direction from ERCOT can now be used before the grid encounters emergency conditions; and (4) penalties for violating weatherization rules have been increased to $1,000,000 per day per violation.

Request for Waiver

New York – Natural Gas

The Retail Energy Supply Association filed a request for an extension of the January 25, 2022, expiration of the waiver established by the New York Public Service Commission. In January 2021, in response to petitions from various energy service companies, the Commission issued an order that, among other things, authorized a limited, one-year waiver during which time energy service companies that had marketed bundled natural gas and carbon offset, or renewable energy certificate products could continue to offer those products to customers who were purchasing them. The request by the Retail Energy Supply Association has been directed to the Commission and is awaiting determination.

Electricity Price to Compare

Pennsylvania – Electric

The Pennsylvania FirstEnergy Utilities (Metropolitan Edison Company, Pennsylvania Electric Company, Pennsylvania Power Company, and West Penn Power Company) filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission a proposed electric default service plan for the period June 1, 2023, through May 31, 2027, that if approved by the Commission, will change the price-to-compare for the residential and commercial customer classes to be a six-month fixed rate in contrast to the current three-month fixed rate.

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