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PA Gas Bill is 'Ambiguous,' National Fuel Says

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 the bill.

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