A Regulator’s Blueprint for 21st Century Gas Utility Planning

A framework for and case studies of modern gas utility planning processes

The energy sector is in the midst of a profound transition as it shifts away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and a decarbonized economy. As such, natural gas utilities are at risk of stagnating customer growth and declining demand per customer due to competition from cost-effective electrification solutions and decarbonization efforts. 


To date, most states have lacked a framework for comprehensive, modern gas planning that allows utility regulators and stakeholders to assess a utility’s infrastructure and resource investment plan, especially in light of rapidly changing technology, market, and policy conditions. Inaccurate plans can lead to over-investment in the system, the wrong mix of resources, or a system unable to meet the demands of customers. Ultimately, gas customers bear most of the risks of inadequate system planning. 


For states looking to improve transparency into or oversight of gas utilities, or states looking to better facilitate a smooth transition to clean energy, this white paper offers a blueprint by: 

·         introducing the benefits of modern, long-term gas utility planning;  

·         laying out key process and analytical components of a gas plan;  

·         providing a more in-depth look at stakeholder engagement, non-pipeline alternatives, evaluating Renewable Natural Gas and Hydrogen, and embedding equity;  

·         reviewing and comparing existing gas planning processes from the Pacific Northwest, New York, Michigan, Colorado, and British Columbia; and  

·         making recommendations for states looking to create or update their gas planning processes.