Gas Task Force


In July 2023, NARUC President Michael Caron announced the Task Force on Natural Gas Resource Planning during NARUC’s 2023 Summer Policy Summit. The task force will provide a forum for participants from NARUC-member state commissions to make progress individually and envisioning novel process approaches for considering natural gas distribution resource planning in their states. See the list of twenty participating states.


The rapid pace of technological and policy changes in the natural gas sector presents complicated questions for state utility commissions. Presented with proposals for routine safety-related infrastructure upgrades, expansions to serve new customers, investments to maintain supply, evolving energy efficiency programs, and more complex, longer-term system changes, utility regulators must make decisions today that will have practical effects on customer bills, infrastructure investments, and the likelihood of achieving state policy goals far into the future. Commissions need to ensure that they have adequate information for decision making in this environment. Increasingly, commissions are exploring the applicability of integrated resource planning-style processes for state-specific natural gas planning.

Specifically, state PUCs are beginning to confront the following questions:

  • What are the likely trajectories for the full range of technology options? What technologies can be deployed in the near- and long-term to achieve decarbonization goals while ensuring customers have access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy services?
  • Where gas distribution utilities are required to achieve emissions reductions, how should the costs and benefits be quantified?
  • How might PUCs evaluate and prioritize investments in gas distribution infrastructure given the multi-decade lifetimes for many of these assets and the timing of interim / final targets for decarbonization goals?
  • What strategies can PUCs consider to limit the risk of stranded assets, especially considering that those stranded assets may become a substantial financial burden for those who can least afford it?

To address these questions, this task force creates a platform where PUCs can participate in a leading national conversation among states that will help them:

  • Accelerate their understanding of near-term and long-term technology options, including ranges of likely costs and benefits.
  • Investigate strategies to avoid unnecessary investments and reduce the risk of stranded assets while ensuring safety.
  • Explore approaches to mitigating and managing system costs; in particular, ensuring that higher costs do not fall disproportionately on low-income ratepayers. 

Approach and Outcomes

The task force is a NARUC initiative, with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, to organize a professionally facilitated workshop series over two years. The task force provides a guided educational process for NARUC members to learn from national-caliber experts, share state-specific knowledge and experience, discuss state utility regulatory issues, and develop best practices that can guide state-level natural gas resource planning. The task force will draw upon the insights and participation of members from various committees, backgrounds, and regions – many of whom have been exploring these topics from their own perspectives, but not comprehensively or in a coordinated way that is only feasible with a cross-cutting initiative.

The task force staff and members will collaborate to develop and publicly release a decision process resource kit annotated with supplemental information and questions that can guide state utility regulators in their decision-making on natural gas resource investments. The resource kit will articulate questions, data needs and possible sources, and steps that state PUCs and their stakeholders can take to support decision-making and will be on the challenges encountered and lessons learned by task force members and others. The resource kit may include expert resources from DOE, National Laboratories, and relevant academic or non-governmental organizations, and include strategies for understanding potential technology trajectories, ratemaking tools to finance infrastructure costs and strategies to minimize burdens on lower-income customers, stakeholder engagement approaches, example state policies for discussion, and other resources to support state PUCs.

Other organizations, including but not limited to federal officials, utilities, industry representatives, nongovernmental organizations, and consultants, will be invited to provide representatives at key points during the task force to deliver analytical resources, technical trainings, facilitation assistance, lessons learned from past industrial transitions, and other support to the task force to present members with high quality information from diverse perspectives. 

The task force will not develop or promote a solution to these complex challenges; it will facilitate the development of roadmaps focused on state planning approaches—questions, information needs, process steps, stakeholder engagement strategies—that commissions anticipate will lead to better informed decision making in their states.

Read the Task Force on Natural Gas Resource Planning factsheet and charter to learn more.