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Gas-Fired Plants Served by Enable Gas Transmission Get More Flexibility

Enable Midstream Partners LP's Enable Gas Transmission LLC (EGT) has taken another step to address the nettlesome problem of aligning the operations of natural gas pipelines and gas-fired power generators.

At the start of the month EGT implemented an update to its enhanced firm transportation (EFT) service for power generators. It is designed to provide increased flexibility by granting generators ramp-up capabilities and increasing their hourly flexibility, improving their ability to respond to dispatch requests.

"We have worked very closely with customers, regulators, and industry experts to understand the needs of the power generation market and this service enhancement is the next step in our continuing effort to develop services that satisfy those needs," said Chris Ditzel, vice president of transportation and storage of Enable Midstream Partners.

Regulators, natural gas pipelines and power generators have worked for years to address the alignment issues that make it difficult of power generators to nominate for gas service while not knowing what their actual needs will be (see Daily GPIApril 29Feb. 20).

EGT's EFT service has been around for four or five years and has gone through a few iterations, Ditzel told NGI.

He said even though gas-fired power generation customers were benefiting from the service, at least one had difficulty bidding into the market due to uncertainty around pricing. The previous version of EFT had "a lot of flexibility to it, and all those flexible pieces had prices associated with them. It made it very difficult for them to predict what their costs were going to be," Ditzel said.

Another issue making things difficult for generation customers has been the fact that the gas day is not aligned with the start of the  electric day.

EGT now provides EFT shippers the ability to ramp-up generation prior to the start of the gas day and allows for non-ratable deliveries that can vary throughout the day -- within set parameters depending upon generators' contracts for service -- for accelerated generation needs.

Enable Midstream serves power generators in the Midwest ISO and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP); it is one of the largest gas transportation providers to power plants in SPP.

EGT's new service was recently mentioned by the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative in its report on Gas-Electric System Interface Study as one of the "innovative services" that have been designed to strengthen the deliverability of natural gas to gas-fired generators across the study region.

Ditzel said the new service has better aligned the needs of the gas industry and power generators in EGT's service area, but it doesn't completely close the gap. "I think we're very close with this," he said.

"We've got a specific set of customers, and this doesn't work for every one of our power generators, so not all of them have signed up for it. We've got investor-owned utilities who have selected the service as well as independents. It just depends on their situation."

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