EEI: Collaboration is Key for 30 Tcf Market
Reaching a 30 Tcf gas market will greatly benefit the nation's
power market, so it only makes sense that electric utilities should
help the gas industry achieve that goal, said Thomas Kuhn,
president of Edison Electric Institute (EEI). Kuhn, speaking
yesterday at the Natural Gas Roundtable in Washington D.C., said
the convergence between the industries has become such a force that
the EEI, whose members generate and distribute roughly
three-fourths of the nation's electricity, is planning to take a
more active role in helping the gas industry meet its demand.
"It is our goal to have a commitment to a healthy gas industry
in respect to helping all segments of that industry build the
infrastructure needed to get to the 30 Tcf area so that we
(electric companies) can have the long-term arrangements and the
long-term stability of supply that we're going to require..."
To that end, the EEI has been extremely active on the policy
side to help the gas industry reach the 30 Tcf market, said Andy
Katz, senior attorney for the EEI. It filed comments concerning the
notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) and notice of inquiry (NOI).
The EEI supported and Kuhn participated in the conference on
Northeast demand, which took place in early June. Katz also said
the EEI has lobbied for FERC to loosen restrictions on secondary
capacity. "Gas-fired generation is going to be the biggest piece of
that 30 Tcf market, so that makes us very active in the gas arena."
Kuhn said collaboration will lead to a more effective policy
plan for both industries. It makes sense for industry associations
to work together, he said, because they face similar public policy
issues such as the environment, Y2K and reliability. Also, electric
and gas associations appeal to the same decision-making entities
including the Environmental Protection Agency, FERC, the White
House and the individual states.
Although rumors emerged earlier this year about a potential merger
of the American Gas Association (AGA) and the EEI (See Daily GPI, Feb. 10), Kuhn did not address the
issue. He did point to the two associations' relationship, however, as
an example of the common ground both gas and electric groups can work
"We're working together on NARUC issues, on Y2K issues and on
utility handicapping issues in the individual states...even
marketing. [Dave Parker, president of the AGA] and I got our
marketing groups together recently to try and find common areas.
That would have been heresy a few years ago, but it's happening
more and more now."
Katz said talk of a merger "is just talk."
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