Public Utilities Reports

PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

Available NOW!
PUR Guide

This comprehensive self-study certification course is designed to teach the novice or pro everything they need to understand and succeed in every phase of the public utilities business.

Order Now

News Analysis

But the standards board must surmount differences with electric brethren before repeating its gas industry success.
Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 2001

to spearhead the development of a combined electric-gas energy board. After all, it has a proven track record of published standards, and it boasts a structure in which its inner-workings are transparent, as well as effective. Further, GISB has a stated policy of not taking advocacy positions and operates under a system that is based on both voting within each of its five business segments (i.e., producers, distributors, etc.), as well as overall voting, allowing for all to have an equal voice.

"We run our meetings with a number of principles in mind, and we stick to those principles" says McQuaid. She is referring to such principles as inclusivity (participation is not restricted to members only), openness (there are no secret meetings and everything is posted on the GISB website), in addition to the balanced voting framework.

"These rules were very carefully crafted," she adds. "In some sense, I think our biggest accomplishment as an organization was building the framework because it has stood the test of time. … I think that may be why the Coalition came to us."

Of course, GISB has no experience with electricity, and that's where an organization like the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) might have concerns. The changes made to the original strawman, released Sept. 21, are largely the result of feedback from EEI, as well as other industry stakeholders since the release of the original proposal. ()

As one might surmise, at the heart of EEI's concerns is its sensitivity over an organization from the gas side, and not the electric, taking the lead in creating a combined energy board. The GISB strawman and the proposed model that EEI presented in its response differ in several areas, right from the basics, such as how the various business units are to be carved up within the board. GISB, which looks at itself as a successful organization, generally takes the 'Why mess with success?' approach. In keeping with that theme, it suggests an approach that would use the same five business segments that currently exist within the board, but simply tacking on the word energy to the title of each segment: producers, transmission providers, distributors, end-users, and services. In other words, various segments would include both electric and gas stakeholders.

When Consensus-Building Failed
FERC now forced to step in as facilitator on cross-contract ranking.

Is GISB's plate clean? It doesn't look that way, even without its new combined-industry board venture that spills over into electricity.

THE CXKR PROBLEM. One issue that has kept it busy—and one issue on which it has not been able to achieve the oft-trumpeted consensus on which it prides itself—is how to implement a proposal that would allow shippers to designate and rank pipeline contracts, or standards for cross-contract ranking (CXKR). For example, when a shipper nominates gas from a single producer, he may do so under both a firm contract with the pipeline and a capacity release contract, which has a minimum volume commitment. If it turns out that the shipper receives less gas from its producer than it has nominated, it