The Gas Industry Standards board (GISB) has offered up a planfor a combined natural gas and electric industry standards boardfor discussion among GISB’s own members and electric industryrepresentatives.

The new standards-setting organization would have equalcommittee and board representation from the gas and electricindustries and would be directed at setting voluntary standards forthe electronic exchange of information, record and data formats,communication protocols and related business practices that wouldstreamline the transactional processes of both the electric andnatural gas businesses, including retail and wholesale.

The GISB Board of Directors voted at the group’s Sixth Annualmeeting in San Antonio, TX earlier this week to set the strawmanproposal as a framework for discussion. “The fact that only oneboard member voted in opposition indicates the board is veryinterested in seeing how the industry reacts to this document,”said GISB Executive Director Rae McQuade. The task force, whichincludes some board members, will be scheduling a conference callnext week to decide how to take it to the industry. The strawmanproposal is posted on the website

The proposal is the product of a task force put to work on arequest by the Coalition for Uniform Business Rules (CUBR) for GISB toconsider initiating a collaborative process in which all marketsegments would band together to form a gas and electric energystandards board. (see Daily GPI, April27) The suggestion was based on GISB’s groundbreaking experiencein developing transaction standards for the new natural gas market,and on the convergence of the two industries.

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