THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
STATE UTILITY CONSUMER ADVOCATES
RESOLUTION 2013 – 04
Urging Public Utility Commissions To Protect Against Retail Ratepayer Subsidization Of Regulated Natural Gas Utility Participation In The Non-Regulated Natural Gas Vehicle Refueling Market.
WHEREAS, natural gas is increasingly being utilized to fuel cars and vehicle fleets as a domestically abundant, clean and cheap alternative to gasoline and diesel;
WHEREAS, the number of natural gas vehicle refueling stations is steadily growing throughout the United States with billions of dollars in private investment from non-utility businesses and over 40 private competitors
WHEREAS, gas distribution utilities are regulated since they operate as a legal monopoly and have a captive customer base within their prescribed service territory;
WHEREAS, regulated gas distribution utilities have increasingly begun to enter or advocate for permission to enter the natural gas vehicle refueling market so they may build, own, operate and maintain natural gas refueling stations;
WHEREAS, a regulated gas distribution utility’s involvement in this market is outside the scope of its traditional monopoly service, namely, the distribution of natural gas to retail consumers;
WHEREAS, the ownership, operation and maintenance of natural gas refueling stations by gas distribution utilities puts traditional ratepayers at risk for revenue shortfalls from poorly performing stations;
WHEREAS, gas distribution utility ownership, operation or maintenance of natural gas refueling stations may result in cross-subsidies of the new services by traditional ratepayers either directly or indirectly due to the complex overlapping of monopoly and competitive utility roles;
WHEREAS, a utility’s involvement in the natural gas refueling market gives it monopolistic advantages relative to potential private sector competitors, given the utility’s low cost of capital, name brand equity, well-developed customer access within its respective service territory, ability to cross subsidize service offerings and other advantages the utility has as a monopoly provider; and
WHEREAS, these advantages will create an anti-competitive market that will discourage private investment, reduce competition and therefore impede the development of a robust natural gas vehicle refueling market.
NOW THEREFORE NASUCA RESOLVES
Natural gas refueling stations should be a competitive business. As such, retail ratepayers should not be required to subsidize, either directly or indirectly, any gas distribution utilities’ natural gas refueling stations.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that gas distribution utilities should not be allowed to provide any services or investments for natural gas vehicles or natural gas fueling infrastructure, beyond the distribution of natural gas, unless that function is performed through an unregulated affiliate governed by appropriate affiliate transaction rules. Such services and investments should include:
- Any work to build, own, maintain and operate natural gas refueling stations;
- The provision of compression equipment for refueling stations on customer property or downstream of the customer meter;
- Natural gas vehicle maintenance and conversions, and
- Any other natural gas refueling station related activity.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NASUCA authorizes its Executive Committee to develop specific positions and to take appropriate actions consistent with the terms of this resolution. The Executive Committee shall advise the membership of any proposed action prior to taking such action, if possible. In any event, the Executive Committee shall notify its membership of any action taken pursuant to this resolution.
Approved by NASUCA: 2013 NASUCA Mid Year Meeting Submitted by:
Place: Seattle, WA NASUCA Gas Committee
Date: June __, 2013