PUC Releases Winter Natural Gas Reliability Overview Reports & Encourages Consumers to Prepare for Winter
Published on 11/23/2021
Filed under: Gas
Reports Detail Utility Planning & Readiness for Winter Heating Season; Consumers Urged to #CallUtilitiesNow to Discuss Affordability Options
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today released 2021 Winter Reliability Overview Reports from the state’s major natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs), along with a related Readiness Report from the Energy Association of Pennsylvania (EAP).
The Commission also continues to encourage consumers to #CallUtilitiesNow to explore affordability options to help remain connected and safe during the coming cold weather months.
Natural Gas Reliability Overview Reports
The reliability overview reports provide insights regarding preparations for conditions that may affect service reliability, supply and prices for the winter months, including topics such as system readiness; employee safety/readiness; communications outreach; gas supply and planning; and natural gas demand for electric generators.
The winter readiness overviews can be viewed using the following links:
- Columbia Gas of PA
- National Fuel Gas
- PECO Energy
- Peoples Natural Gas & Peoples Gas
- Philadelphia Gas Works
- UGI Utilities – Gas Division
- Energy Association of PA
The full reports are also posted on the “Reliability” section of the PUC website.
Key Natural Gas Utility Issues
Among the notable items from the reports, EAP projects that the 2021-22 winter home heating season will be significantly more expensive this year – with consumption likely to increase due to forecasts of colder weather, combined with a rise in natural gas prices.
The NGDCs that have electric generation customers pointed out that most of those customers have their own energy supply contracts, so the demands for winter electric generation are not expected to impact the utilities’ ability to serve their core residential and business customers.
Utilities also noted ongoing efforts to address COVID-19 issues, along with an increased- tempo of emergency exercises and drills, to ensure that staff are ready to respond to any actual emergencies that may occur during the winter heating season – including the participation of many utilities and stakeholders in the PUC’s “Operation Blue Flame 2021” exercise.
Consumer Preparedness - #CallUtilitiesNow
In addition to utility readiness, the Commission continues to encourage consumers to prepare for the coming winter – underscoring the importance of consumers, businesses and utilities continuing to work together during this unprecedented time.
“As Pennsylvania consumers, businesses, and public utilities move into another heating season, our state and country continue to face health and economic uncertainty,” the PUC noted in a recent letter to utility CEOs. “The stress on our neighbors and our communities is further compounded by volatile energy prices and forecasts for colder weather.”
The PUC strongly encourages concerned or struggling households to #CallUtilitiesNow to explore all the available options. Public utilities are the first and most direct mechanisms to link struggling households with much-needed assistance.
Utilities understand the assistance programs available in their communities for income-qualified consumers – including utility-run Customer Assistance Programs (CAP), national programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and various hardship fund programs operated by utilities and non-profit organizations. Utilities also can help enroll consumers in assistance programs, guide them to other available resources and discuss new payment plan options to address overdue balances and help consumers move forward.
About the PUC
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.
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