Friday, August 20, 2021

PUC Seeks Comments On Proposed Changes To Safety Regulations For Customer-Owned Natural Gas Pipeline System Service Lines

The Public Utility Commission published
notice in the August 21 PA Bulletin inviting comments on proposed changes to state pipeline safety regulations covering the operation and maintenance of customer-owned service lines for natural gas or other gas by pipelines.

The tentative implementation order proposes revisions to clarify that a public utility pipeline operator is responsible for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the pipe, regardless of whether the service line is owned by the utility or the customer. 

The proposed revisions would also require that the public utility perform repairs or renewals of customer-owned service lines upstream of the meter, and that the public utility may bill the customer for all costs for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a customer’s service line upstream of the inlet of the meter serving the customer, in accordance with its tariff.  

The customer would be responsible for repairs or renewals downstream of the meter, and the public utility could shut off gas service until such repairs are made to ensure safe and reliable gas service.

Public Comments

The Commission is seeking comment on the proposed amendments to pipeline regulations, along with comments on a broad range of related financial and customer-service related issues, including:

-- Cost recovery for repairs and maintenance to customer-owner service lines.

-- The ability to include costs in a utility’s Distribution System Improvement Change.

-- Service termination for non-payment of costs or refusal to provide access for repairs.

-- Capitalization of costs in a utility’s base rates, rather than charging individual customers.

-- Tariff language related to billing, collection and rates.

-- Utility communication with customers about costs, billing and scheduling of repairs.

-- Access to customer property to complete required repairs.

-- Other related issues that concerned parties may wish to raise.

Interested parties may submit written comments at Docket No. L 2020-3019417 within 40 days of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Comments should be eFiled through the Commission’s eFiling System (per the Commission’s Emergency Order dated March 20, 2020). 

You may set up a free eFiling account with the Commission. Filing instructions are available on the Commission’s website.

Documents related to this proposed rulemaking can be found at PUC Docket No. L 2020-3019417.

[Posted: August 20, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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