National Gas Utility Workers' Day is on March 18: Recognizing These Critical Workers via Energy Central Content

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Energy Analyst Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

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  • Mar 17, 2022

As led by the American Public Gas Association, March 18 is known as National Gas Utility Workers' Day. Here's some background on the history:

In 2015, the APGA Marketing & Sales Committee began discussing how they believed natural gas utility workers deserved a day to be recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. After several months of planning, the committee named March 18 the day in which natural gas utility workers around the country will be honored each year.

The decision to hold this day on March 18 was made by a poll on the APGA Community. March 18 is the date of the New London, Texas school incident in 1937 that led to the widespread odorization of natural gas and an increased emphasis on safety. Safety is a vital aspect to natural gas distribution and the employees of distribution companies endeavor to make natural gas delivery as safe as possible.


To recognize these important workers on this day, I wanted to pull out some of the top relevant content on gas utilities and the efforts put in by their dedicated workers that has made a splash on Energy Central in the past few months. Take a look at the following links, and be sure to leave a word of thanks for our gas utility workers in the comments below!


The Future of Fieldwork

At most energy companies, the labor cost of field operations typically represents upwards of 60% of the overall asset maintenance spend. At some water and gas utilities, this proportion gets as high as 80%.  Field operations are thus seen as a key domain for efficiency improvements. Furthermore, the effectiveness of fieldwork and the expertise of the field force have a direct bearing on the quality of asset upkeep, customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance.


4 opportunities for gas utilities to accelerate the energy transition today

Gas utilities will need to give careful thought to the replacement of leak prone pipe, balancing the need to maintain a safe system with the high costs of replacement. Utilities should work with interested stakeholders to study these issues and develop a thorough assessment of costs, site feasibility, community outreach, GHG emissions reduction potential and financing/ratemaking changes needed to facilitate the retirement of portions of their systems. As Massachusetts is currently studying, high electrification scenarios could result in dramatic reductions in total gas utility sales, necessitating a thorough evaluation of impacts. Decisions must be made in conjunction with low-income customers and frontline communities to understand their priorities and needs.


Welcome Paul Gwaltney, New Expert in the Digital Utility Community- [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Expert Interview]

Natural gas will be part of our energy portfolio for quite some time, even with, and especially with, decarbonization efforts. Natural Gas is a cleaner fuel than other fossil fuels and it will play a part of our energy needs for several more decades, by virtually all projections. With climate change and with our increasing awareness and evidence that natural gas leaks account for an unknown (but relatively large) amount of our GHG emissions, leak analytics and repairs will be a primary focus of the industry.  Because of the long-tails of the gas infrastructure, it will be critical to identify the riskiest and most leak-prone segments as early as possible and focus capital investments there.


The Future of Gas Heats Up in Nevada

The state and its utilities must also consider the appropriate use of limited supplies of alternative fuels like renewable natural gas and hydrogen, which are promising options for certain hard-to-electrify applications, such as some industrial activities, and how complementary policies, like revising gas and electric line extension allowances, a west-wide wholesale electricity market, and support for distributed energy resources and microgrids, can play different roles to support the transition.  

The future of the energy ecosystem, and more specifically, the future of gas, requires systems-level thinking, creative solutions, and the use of all the tools in our toolkit.


RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEXT GENERATION UTILITY TECHNOLOGIES (Control and monitoring gas and electric with AI 'bots" and more...)

We all know technology is rapidly changing industries and services. The electric and gas industry is no different. Not only office and accounting systems but a greater focus on migrating critical Operational Technology (OT) and/or Industrial Control Systems (ICS)  systems - used to monitor and control gas and/or electric generation, transmission and distribution substations, generating plants and Control Centers – off-prem, to cloud service and supply chain providers.


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