Two vying proposals that would make extensive regulatory changes to the state's natural gas infrastructure and supply adequacy - as well as gas "quality" issues - are expected to be put to a vote in the next month. One proposed decision, by California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge Steve Weismann, would require new "rigorous" analyses by utilities to determine whether the state's current infrastructure is adequate to meet demand. It would also require more study on gas quality to decide whether changes in composition will affect pipelines, power plants, or end users' equipment (Circuit, Feb. 3, 2006). The latter issue is growing in importance as liquefied natural gas imports are expected to join traditional natural gas in the state's pipelines. Utility submissions to demonstrate adequate facilities are "not enough," said Weismann, because they were based on insufficient methodology. An alternate decision, by CPUC president Mike Peevey, finds that the current gas supply infrastructure is adequate and that the market can't wait for more studies on gas quality. "We have not found evidence to find that the backbone capacity is inadequate at this time," Peevey asserted. However, he also called for utilities to further demonstrate infrastructure adequacy. While the judge's proposed decision noted that regulators don't yet know enough about gas quality, Peevey's alternate would adopt industry-recommended standards. "Delays in implementation of a new gas quality tariff until all additional research is completed may have adverse impacts on reliability and cost," he wrote. However, the two massive proposed decisions agreed in many areas, including: - Requiring utilities to develop a quantifiable rationale for slack capacity standards and opening a new rulemaking for that issue. - Mandating that SoCal Gas monitor use of receipt points and determine which shippers are and which are not seeking access. - Having utilities explore, along with their customers, ways to structure longer and shorter commitments to gas contracts. - Ordering electric utilities to demonstrate that they've ensured natural gas supplies to their power plants.