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New NARUC Handbook Highlights State Infrastructure Replacement Programs
WASHINGTON (February 7, 2020)—A new informational handbook published by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners summarizes natural gas distribution infrastructure replacement programs in 41 states and the District of Columbia.
Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Replacement and Modernization: A Review of State Programs discusses the state of U.S. natural gas distribution infrastructure, trends in natural gas consumption and the need for local gas distribution companies and utilities to work closely with state public utility commissions and other stakeholders to prioritize repair and replacement. The handbook cites relevant statutes and regulations that guide infrastructure replacement programs in each state. Although there is no single best replacement program across all states, the report includes state-specific factors that can help guide successful practices.
Using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the handbook cites substantial progress in replacing aging bare steel and cast iron main miles and service counts across the U.S. in recent years. However, bare steel and cast iron still account for 5.1 percent of main miles and 2.7 percent of service lines, demonstrating the need for continued action on infrastructure replacement.
“Aging infrastructure presents safety and reliability risks,” said NARUC President Brandon Presley of the Mississippi Public Service Commission. “Proactively managing the prioritization, financing and execution of infrastructure upgrades is a critical function for state regulators.”
“Public utility commissions have an integral regulatory role in encouraging utilities in appropriate and prudent utility replacement and modernization programs,” said Commissioner Diane X. Burman of the New York State Public Service Commission, who chairs NARUC’s Committee on Gas and the Natural Gas Infrastructure Modernization Partnership between NARUC and the United States Department of Energy. “This handbook facilitates communication among states, utilities and all stakeholders on successful approaches to infrastructure replacement with an emphasis on reliability, integrity and safety of the natural gas distribution system.”
The report, developed under the NGIMP, was authored by Andreas Thanos of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities and NARUC Senior Manager Kiera Zitelman. To read the report, go to http://bit.ly/2OyJ6J6.
NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC's member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of State public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.