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The Maine PUC has initiated a rulemaking to consider adoption of rules for Gas Utility Meter Performance, Accuracy, Testing and Related Standards. The rules:
- Provide that meters shall be owned and maintained by the gas utility, except where it is impracticable to do so, and defines recordkeeping and retention requirements.
- Address performance and accuracy standards, providing that all meters shall comply with applicable codes and standards, and that gas utilities shall include in their Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) the applicable standards, codes and requirements for each meter type used, and the process by which gas utilities shall ensure and document compliance with these standards.
- Address testing protocols, including the removal and testing of meters that do not meet applicable performance and accuracy standards, or customer-requested tests requires the utility to provide the customer a written report upon completion of a meter test.
- Specify how each gas utility will develop and apply ccf-to-therm conversion factors used for customer billing
[Comment deadline was August 24.]
The Massachusetts Legislature’s Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy held a public hearing featuring more than 30 bills dealing with natural gas on November 12. The majority of these bills were introduced in response to the November 2018 incidents in the Merrimack Valley. Details of the hearing including a complete list of bills discussed are available here.
The Public Service Commission has opened a rulemaking docket (19-G-0736) to propose amendments to rules for gas utilties’ safety to improve operator qualification programs. Two other dockets (19-G-0181, 19-G-0182) were opened to update its rules to ensure conformance with 49 CFR Part 192 and Part 199, Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline.
The Ohio PUC is conducting a 5-year review of its Gas Pipeline Safety rules. Notice inviting comments on proposed amendments was filed on August 14, 2019. The amendments would make the following changes:
- require each operator to have a plan for abandoning inactive service lines
- add requirements for the reevaluation of repaired or reclassified leaks would apply to below grade hazardous leaks
- require gas gathering/processing plant pipeline operators to provide total mileage of gas gathering piping operated in Ohio and counties of operation in the 24-hour contact report
- reduce the number of reports required for important additions to intrastate gas pipeline facilities
[Comment deadline was extended to September 27, 2019.]
The following bills were introduced and referred to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee in February:
SB263 would add a new section “Pipeline Safety Valves” requiring that all facilities of a public utility engaged in the transmission of gas or hazardous liquids placed into service after the effective date of this section to have automatic or remote controlled shutoff valves installed. Annual testing of these valves would be required.
SB258 would require utilities to meet with local emergency management organizations twice per year, and outlines the information that operators would be required to transmit. (Removed from table in Senate 10/23/2019.)
SB 260 outlines types of information that pipeline operators must provide to schools, if requested, that fall within 1000 ft of PUC-jurisdictional hazardous liquids and natural gas pipelines, including how to respond to a leak or product release. (Similar to HB 733 introduced on 3/18/19, now in House Consumer Affairs committee.)
The following bill was introduced and referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy committee in February:
SB 283 would replace the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission with the Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth; and providing for Federal delegation. The bill would centralize pipeline safety inspection within the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania’s lateral regulatory agency to PHMSA. Second, PennDOT would be required to make application to the federal government for designation as an Interstate Agent in the inspection of interstate pipelines traversing Pennsylvania.
A group of bills were introduced in March as part of a “Pipeline Safety Package” and are currently in the House Consumer Affairs committee.
HB 886 would require a public utility operating a pipeline in a high consequence area to install automatic or remote shutoff valves within 100 feet of each municipal boundary crossed by the facility and within 100 feet of the facility’s entry and exist of each high consequence area. A public utility is required to test the reliability of shutoff valves annually and provide the results of these tests to each municipality where a shutoff valve is located.
HB 887 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require General Assembly approval, by concurrent resolution, prior to the construction or development of any pipeline that traverses three or more counties.
HB 888 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require that, following an incident that results in a shutdown of a pipeline, the operator must inspect the entirety of the pipeline before resuming operations. Under federal regulations, a pipeline operator may voluntarily or involuntarily, by action of the Public Utility Commission, suspend operations of a pipeline when a leak occurs that results in a death or personal injury requiring hospitalization, property damage of $50,000 or more, loss of three million cubic feet or more of product, or any other event deemed significant in the judgment of the operator.
HB 889 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require a pipeline operator, upon written request, to release any safety assessment studies or data that were conducted or collected about their facilities.
HB 890 would require a public utility with facilities transporting natural gas or natural gas liquids to meet with the county emergency coordinators along the pipeline route to identify any high consequence areas and the potential impact radius around the pipeline. The public utility must also share its current emergency operating procedures with the emergency coordinators.
City Council bill B23-0117, now in the Committee on Business and Economic Development would broaden enforcement authority of underground facilities, such as gas and power lines to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs administratively. Currently, enforcement authority is limited to the District of Columbia Superior Court. This bill also:
- Amends the definition of excavation to include trenchless technology
- Requires that utilities respond to request from One-Call within 48 hours
- Requires that a project provide adequate protection, including supports as needed, to utility operator workers when they enter the immediate vicinity of the facility.
- Eliminates an exception for small excavation projects that were contained within the limits of the original excavation and did not exceed twelve inches in depth.
- Increases the civil penalty for subsequent violations from $3,500 to $5,000 for a second offense and from $5,000 to $10,000 for a third or subsequent offense. As an alternative to these civil penalties, the bill authorizes the Mayor to issue civil fines and penalties under the Civil Infraction Act
- Authorizes the Mayor to implement educational programs, collect data, and require reporting by entities subject to the Act in order to develop an effective damage prevention program.
[Public hearing held May 13, bill currently under council review.]
Amendments to Chapter 15-37 DCMR Natural Gas Quality of Service Standards were adopted on 11/6/2019 and became effective on 11/22/2019.
The amendments modify (1) Reporting Requirements for Reportable and Limited Service Outage and Gas Incidents; (2) Reporting and Repairing Requirements for Gas Leaks and Odor Complaints; (3) Reporting and Responding Requirements for Gas Emergencies; (4) Customer Service Standards, Customer Surveys, Service Provisioning; (5) Reliability Standards, Low Pressure Water Infiltration, Underground Damage Prevention, Lost Time Accidents OSHA 300 Log; (6) Billing Error Notification; (7) Compliance Reporting; (8) Penalties; (9) Waiver; and (10) Definitions.
The Natural Gas Utility shall have until April 30, 2020, to comply fully with the reporting requirements (1), (2), (3), and the Natural Gas Utility and the Natural Gas Suppliers are to continue to file Compliance Reports consistent with (7).
SB315 was signed into law and becomes effective on January 1, 2020. It creates the 17-member Underground Damage Prevention Authority to enforce the notification requirement penalties provisions of the “One-Call Notification System”; (1) for a first violation, a fine not to exceed $500; (2) for a second violation, a fine not to exceed $1,000; (3) for a third and subsequent violations, a fine not to exceed $4,000; and (4) for a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for a violation that is a result of gross negligence. This bill requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to provide administrative support to the Authority.
The Public Service Commission has proposed amendments to its rules for the installation of gathering lines, reclamation of disturbed areas, and safety requirements of gathering lines as they pertain to oil and gas production operations. This amendment deletes the definition section (definitions for entire chapter included in a new Definitions regulation at top of chapter), outlines more specific testing requirements, and corrects citations in the administrative regulation. It also amends two forms that are incorporated by reference: “Application for Gathering Line Operator’s License” and “Notification/Application for a Gathering Line Permit: Installation, Reclamation and Operation Plan”.
A public hearing on the proposed amendments was held on August 22, 2019. Proposed amendments were modified in November after comments.
The Board is engaged in the following additional rulemakings:
RMU-2016-0004 Review of Intrastate Gas and Underground Gas Storage Rules in 199 IAC Chapter 10
RMU-2016-0013 Review of Restoration of Agricultural Lands During and After Pipeline Construction Rules in 199 IAC Chapter 9
RMU-2016-0015 Review of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines and Underground Storage Rules 199 IAC Chapter 13
The MPSC is proposing to adopt amendments to its rules governing gas safety to adopt by reference current federal regulations and standards and to define record retention periods.
[Request for rulemaking approved June 24, 2019.]
SB1008/HB2097 amends the definition for “excavate”, includes activities within a public or private right-of-way; modifies the timeline requiring the operator to locate and mark underground facilities (from 48 hours after receipt of demolition notice to prior to the date work is scheduled to begin).
[Approved by the Governor April 14, effective November 1.]
The RRC has proposed amendments to its rules, revised after the Commission’s release of draft versions (Ch. 3, Ch. 8) and a public workshop. Proposed rules were submitted to the Texas Register for publication for public comment, due 11/18/2019. A full description of the proposed amendments can be found at:
The Commission also proposed amendments to update and clarify the Commission’s liquefied petroleum gas (LP-gas) rules, and to implement changes from the 86th Legislative Session. House Bill 2714 removed the requirement that manufacturers of LP-gas containers obtain a license from the Commission and instead requires registration with the Commission. Operators will not be required to comply with changes directly related to manufacturer registrations until approximately March 1, 2020 to allow Commission programming efforts to be completed. Upon adoption, the Commission will specify the effective date relating to requirements for manufacturer registration.
Proposed amendments also reflect changes made to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards since Chapter 9 was last amended. A full description of the amendments can be found at:
The OSFM has updated its procedure and forms for notifying the office of a proposed hydrostatic test or in-line inspection. The new forms are available from the OSFM website at:
Beginning November 2019 OSFM is asking all Operators to start using the new form when notifying OSFM of Hydrostatic Tests and In-Line inspections on jurisdictional and regulated pipelines. Submissions shall be sent to PipelineNotification@fire.ca.gov. The Notifications to OSFM now also requires a 1 page PDF map of the pipeline to be tested, to be included in the submission to OSFM.
In addition, the Hydrotest Student Manual is currently under revision.
New excavation rules are currently under development by the OSFM. The proposed regulations will require excavators and utility operators to provide contact information to regional call centers; require regional notification centers to remind holders of annual tickets for areas of continual excavation to renew tickets before they expire; permit excavators to perform planned, recurring work in areas of continual excavation during a certain time period following renewal of the ticket; require persons working under tickets for areas of continual excavation to have knowledge of the information on the ticket; and permit excavators to use certain power tools in the tolerance zones in specified circumstances. Details are available here.
[Comments due December 23, 2019]
The OSFM has proposed to develop new rules for the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board – Investigations and Enforcement
- This rulemaking action implements, interprets, clarifies, and makes specific investigation of possible violations and enforcement of article 2, chapter 3.1, division 5, of title 1 of the Government Code (“Dig Safe Law”), and onsite meeting and agreement requirements for areas of continual excavation near high priority subsurface installations.
- The proposed regulations will require members of regional notification centers to maintain valid and current contact information with the appropriate regional notification center; require regional notification centers to provide updated contact information for their members to the Board upon request; require excavators to notify the appropriate regional notification center of certain types of damages to subsurface installations; require regional notification centers to transmit the damage notifications to the Board; establish investigation and enforcement processes, including types of sanctions, of the Dig Safe Law on excavators and operators; and establish requirements for excavators and operators for onsite meetings and agreements for areas of continual excavation near high priority subsurface installations.
[Comment period concluded on July 2, 2019]
The OSFM’s ongoing rulemaking to develop regulations as required by legislation that was passed after the 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill – AB 864 (2015) – continues. These regulations will become a new Article “Requirements For New Or Replacement Pipeline Near Environmentally and Ecologically Sensitive Areas In The Coastal Zone.”
This NOPR was initially issued 2/5/19. Proposed rules were most recently updated on 10/24/19, with a second 15-day public comment period 10/25/19 through 11/7/19.
SB169 this bill would authorize the State Fire Marshal to:
- require the owner or operator of a pipeline to establish and maintain records, make reports, and provide any information that the State Fire Marshal reasonably requires, to create an inventory of pipelines that will be available to the public.
- enter operator’s facility and inspect records.
- disclose records, reports, or other information required to be maintained to an officer, employee, or authorized representative of the state or the United States for purposes of carrying out the requirements of the act or the federal Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act, or when relevant to a proceeding pursuant to the act.
Current code excludes from the definition of pipeline a pipeline for the transportation of crude oil that operates by gravity or at a stress level of 20 percent or less of the specified minimum yield strength of the pipe. This bill would eliminate that exclusion.
This section will become operative only upon receipt of federal block grant funds as determined by the State Fire Marshal.
[July 10 Failed passage, granted reconsideration in Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization]
AB1166 Requires that the regional notification center report the issuance of tickets to the Public Utilities Commission, and the Public Utilities Commission shall retain these records for five or more years.
[10/2/2019 – Signed by Governor; effective 1/1/2020]
SB463 Requires an operator of a gas storage well to provide the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) a complete chemical inventory of specified materials that may be emitted from a gas storage well. Requires, on or before July 1, 2021, DOGGR in response to the independent root cause analysis of the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak, to review and revise, as applicable, its natural gas storage well policy and regulations. This includes regulations for cathodic protection of well casings, requirements for well control plans that include flow rate and potential flow rate calculations, and Requirements for reporting and investigating leaks and other pressure equipment integrity incidents that present a risk of leaks.
[10/12/2019 – Signed by Governor; effective 1/1/2020]
The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission of the State of Colorado (Commission), adopted additions and amendments to its flowline rules during its hearing November 19-21. The rules are expected to become effective 1/14/2020.
Background: On April 16, 2019, Governor Polis signed SB 19-181, which provided that the Commission shall review and amend its flowline and inactive, temporarily abandoned and shut-in well rules to protect and minimize adverse impacts to the public health, safety, and welfare and the environment by, at a minimum, 1) allowing for the public disclosure of flowline information; 2) evaluating and determining the process for inspecting deactivated flowlines prior to reactivation; and 3) evaluating and determining when inactive, temporarily abandoned and shut-in wells must be inspected prior to being placed back into production. Additional rulemakings will be conducted at a later date – see regulatory agenda notes below.
Agencies published their regulatory agendas for 2020 in the Colorado Register of November 10, 2019.
- The Department of Natural Resources/Oil and Gas Conservation Commission agenda includes rulemakings related to SB 19-181 slated for January 2020 (Definitions) and June 2020 (Pipelines).
- The Department of Regulatory Affairs/Public Utilities agenda includes a rule revision to incorporate changes required by PHMSA to include a regulatory process to investigate excavator damages to gas pipeline and codify the process for investigations and civil penalties, scheduled for January 2020.
- The Department of Labor and Employment/Division of Oil and Public Safety agenda indicates that it intends to amend its rules primarily pertaining to enforcement of violations in November 2020.
The Utah Public Service Commission has proposed amendments to its rules for pipeline safety to update references to 49 CFR. Comments are due by 12/31.
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