Northeast Natural Gas Utilities Meet Near-Record Demand During Recent Cold Spell

Jan 09, 2014, 19:00 ET from Northeast Gas Association

NEEDHAM, Mass., Jan. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The natural gas distribution companies serving the Northeast U.S. met near-record demand for natural gas in the period from January 2 to 8, 2014.   The extreme cold weather throughout the Northeast (as well as much of the U.S. and Canada) provided a test for the energy supply and distribution network, with some of the coldest weather in years.  The utility companies in the region, and the interstate pipeline transmission companies that transport the natural gas to the utility citygates, worked to ensure safe and reliable delivery of natural gas. 

Jeffrey DuBois, president of South Jersey Gas Company and 2014 Chairman of the Northeast Gas Association (NGA), said: "The region's natural gas transmission and distribution companies performed very well to meet the challenges of severe cold weather and high demand.  South Jersey Gas as well as many of the utilities in the region set records for sendout on our systems over the past week.  I commend all the workers in the industry – from gas control and gas supply personnel to workers in the field – for working so hard and cooperatively to ensure system reliability - and for making sure that firm customers' needs were met."

Thomas Kiley, president and CEO of the Northeast Gas Association (NGA), stated: "The region's gas utilities plan carefully all year to ensure that they have enough natural gas supplies available to meet their firm customers' needs through the winter, especially on the coldest days.  The utilities, the pipelines, and the liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers together met the market need."

The region's natural gas infrastructure has had major expansions in recent months, but more pipeline infrastructure is needed in many parts of the region.  The recent period of cold weather and high demand did lead to unusually high spot market prices for natural gas in the Northeast region.  It should be noted that natural gas utility customers are protected from the swings of the spot market price.  Utilities have in place long-term supply and storage arrangements, and their "firm rate" customers, such as residential heating customers, are protected from spot market fluctuations.  The spot market swings do however affect "non-firm" or interruptible customers, such as many power generators in the region.  Increasing pipeline infrastructure offers these traditional interruptible customers the opportunity to choose a firm contract.

NGA is a regional trade association that represents natural gas distribution companies, transmission companies, liquefied natural gas importers, and manufacturers and suppliers to the industry.   These companies provide natural gas to approximately 10 million customers in eight states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont). 

SOURCE Northeast Gas Association