Touting the strong position of natural gas in any newinitiatives to reduce global warming, former Sen. J. BennettJohnston urged support for an early action program to give creditfor companies taking early steps to reduce greenhouse gasemissions.
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Four major gas associations last week urged FERC to reconsider”as soon as possible” an April rule requiring interstate pipelinesto conduct electronic communication using only electronic datainterchange (EDI) over the Internet by June 1, 1999.
Burned so badly that it subsequently got out of the gas andelectric marketing business, LG&E Energy nevertheless has urgedthe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission not to interfere with theinfant electric market by imposing price caps. The marketer, whichhad been among the largest in the business, said the price run-upin June to the neighborhood of $7,000 per MWh for gas deliveredinto Cinergy was part of the “growing pains” of an immaturecommodities market.
Given the recent price spikes in the Midwest and Californiaelectricity markets, a California power agency has called onCongress to take the necessary steps to rein in unleashed marketpower when it takes up restructuring legislation next year.
The three largest gas utilities in western Pennsylvania(Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania, Equitable Gas and Peoples Gas) urgedcustomers to press Congress to restore full funding to the LowIncome Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The three gascompanies began a letter writing campaign on behalf of customers,consumer groups and social service agencies. Elimination of LIHEAPwould impact thousands of customers in Pennsylvania, the utilitiessaid. Nearly 350,000 Pennsylvania families benefit from theprogram. The LIHEAP grant is applied directly to heating bills.Eligibility is based on family income and the number of householdmembers. LIHEAP, a federally-funded program, has been around fortwo decades, but its future was thrown into doubt last month whenthe House Appropriations Committee voted to eliminate the programin fiscal 1999, saving $1.1 billion. President Clinton hadrequested $1.4 billion for LIHEAP in his 1999 budget. Members ofthe U.S. House of Representatives will have another opportunity toconsider LIHEAP funding later this month.
A major LDC group and a pipeline group urged FERC yesterday tofavorably consider a proposal that would clear the way for gaspipelines and their customers to negotiate the heretofore untouchedarea of terms and conditions of service. The Commission has limitedits approval so far tonegotiation of rates.