New Report Details Policy Implications of Natural Gas Utility Obligation to Serve 

WASHINGTON – The American Gas Association (AGA) announced the release of a new report, The Current State of Natural Gas Utility Line Extension Policies, which examines the regulatory framework that guides the provision and expansion of essential utility services, including natural gas utility line extension policies governing the responsibilities of regulators, customers, and utilities in expanding natural gas infrastructure to accommodate new customers. 

“The natural gas utility industry has a legal and ethical responsibility to provide service to customers,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “This report provides crucial insights for stakeholders and policymakers to inform decision-making when considering policy changes that could have a profound impact on access to affordable energy, including for low-income or rural households.” 

The report provides a comprehensive analysis of the existing complementary obligations between and among regulators, customers, and public service companies and how new public policy initiatives affect those obligations. Line extension is defined as the expansion of gas utility service to new natural gas customers where the utility must install additional facilities to connect a customer.  

The report highlights the critical role of line extension policies in expanding natural gas infrastructure to new customers, helping ensure fair access, and maintaining economical pricing for essential services. In particular, the report discusses how line extension policies follow directly from the “obligation to serve,” a key legal principle dictating that local distribution companies have a legal duty to provide service to their communities, charge reasonable prices, and provide non-discriminatory service in a safe, reliable, and resilient manner in return for fair compensation and a defined service territory. 

Key Findings from the Report: 

  1. Utilities Have an Obligation to Serve 
  1. The Obligation to Serve Maintains Equitable Energy Access and Affordability 
  1. Impact of Policy Changes