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No Pain, No Gain: Interoperable Systems Elude Gas Industry

Fortnightly Magazine - October 1 1999

& Electric Co. UCA equipment was used to collect a broad range of distribution system data, including pipeline pressures, flow rates and gas quality along with information on customer load, weather, cathodic protection and other conditions. The estimated cost savings demonstrated in the field test and extrapolated to the entire gas distribution industry was calculated to be as much as $180 million.

In addition to the demonstration testing at utilities, GRI is working with equipment manufacturers to encourage the design of UCA-compliant devices. "We're accumulating enough data to show that UCA makes sense," says Kothari.

"We're trying to break the jam so that the vendors are ready and when the gas companies learn the benefits, they ask for [UCA equipment]," he adds.

"That's the challenge," says Marlon McClinton, vice president and general manager of GRI's distribution and end-use programs. "But GRI is in a unique position of credibility. We're trying to create trust on both sides and demonstrate the benefits."

And like GAIN's Bill Rush, McClinton says industry-wide distribution automation isn't far off. "We don't see it as an impossible dream. We're optimistic that we can demonstrate to gas companies the benefits of these programs and that they'll buy into them." - R.R.J..R2

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