Gas Industry Standards Board expanding to electricity on Jan. 1

The Gas Industry Standards Board (GISB) will recast itself as the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) effective Jan. 1 and expand its activities to the electricity markets.

GISB has been successful at setting standards for wholesale natural gas transactions. The organization was scheduled to make its case to industry Friday during a Department of Energy sponsored conference.

Under NAESB, wholesale gas standards will be one of four activities. The other three will be retail natural gas, wholesale electricity, and retail electricity. GISB no longer will be a separate organization and its procedures and agenda will be moved intact to NAESB.

The quadrants will be devoted to industry segments. For example, the wholesale gas quadrant will have five segments: end users, local distribution companies, pipelines, producers, and service providers.

NAESB’s board will have equal numbers of directors from each quadrant. No quadrant will be entitled to cast a vote greater than the percentage that its quadrant represents in relation to the total number of quadrants represented on the board at a given time.

The NAESB executive committee also will be divided into quadrants, with representation rules identical to that of the board. It will consider standards and model business practices.

The executive committee will determine the number of quadrants considering a particular standard or a particular model business practice, depending on requests presented to it.

Details of how the quadrants are organized will be left to the quadrant participants, although they must follow principles of transparency, openness, balance, and inclusivity.

Rae McQuade, GISB executive director, will hold the same position with NAESB.

McQuade said, “While the wholesale gas quadrant will be the first NAESB quadrant to be in full operation, we expect that the other quadrants, especially retail natural gas and retail electricity, will be up and running soon.”

Charles Driggs, chairman of the governance committee of the Uniform Business Practices-Retail Standards Board (UBP-RSB), representing the retail electricity industry, said, “UBP-RSB has been working with GISB to ensure the NAESB adequately addresses the needs of retail markets. The UBP-RSB membership is encouraged by the progress to date and expects to endorse the forthcoming revised proposal.”

Mark Maassel, chairman of the American Gas Association task force involved with the NAESB formation and a NiSource Corp. vice-president, also supported the new group.

“Since its inception, GISB has emphasized open, inclusive discussions combined with procedural due process, leading to broadly supported approaches to the wholesale natural gas business through standards for natural gas pipeline transactions. AGA will continue to work toward development of an open, dynamic quadrant of NAESB that will represent the best interests of the natural gas retail sector,” he said.

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