PA Gas Bill is 'Ambiguous,' National Fuel Says
National Fuel Gas used a hearing in the Pennsylvania senate
Tuesday to voice its opposition to the state's gas deregulation
bill. It is the only LDC to oppose the bill so far.
Dave Smith, senior vice president of National Fuel Gas
Distribution, said SB 601 is "ambiguous, internally inconsistent
and capable of being interpreted in a way not only inconsistent
with the agreements reached by the Collaborative (to the extent
there was consensus), but injurious to reliability."
Smith argued that the language in the bill could allow small
commercial customers to select interruptible gas service, then
require LDCs to provide gas if the service is interrupted. "We are
concerned that to obtain a reduced price they will elect
interruptible service without understanding the consequences. In
reality, these customers will continue to burn gas despite the
interruption by their supplier. We will have to provide that gas
even if, as would be expected, we did not retain interstate
pipeline capacity for these customers."
He was also quick to defend NFG as a company that supports
choice. He pointed to the Pennsylvania PUC's recent approval of
NFG's customer choice program, which extends the utility's gas
pilot to apply to all of its customers.
As NGI reported earlier this week, a representative from Connectiv
also testified against the bill (See Daily
GPI, March 22). Columbia Gas and PG Energy testified in favor of
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