At a recent national convention where Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners were on hand, the trade group, the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners launched a new initiative which will have an impact in Oklahoma and all other states and territories with utility regulators.
Called the Gas-Electric Alignment for Reliability program, its intention is to bring together regulators such as Commissioners Todd Hiett, Bob Anthony and Kim David along with officials of the gas and electric industries. Under GEAR, as the program is called, the regulators and industry representatives will have the opportunity to address coordination issues because the power industry is more reliant on natural gas.
Such a topic is evident in Oklahoma where the Corporation Commission finds itself dealing still with Winter Storm Yuri issues that arose over the historic high prices of natural gas used in the generation of electricity. It is also a matter that is under investigation by the Attorney General.
North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak was elected to lead the national organization where Commissioners Hiett, Anthony and David were on hand. The convention was held in La Quinta, California and Fedorchak told the Bismarck Tribune the safety and reliability of the grid is job No. 1 for regulators and for the power sector.
“GEAR will zero in on one of our biggest reliability risks, the misalignment of the gas and electric power systems. This regulator-led group will bring together key industry experts with the perspectives and experience needed to get to the root of these persistent problems and develop some solutions.”
Its members include utility regulators from all 50 states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.