Press Releases

PUC Seeks Comment on Potential Enhancements to Pipeline Safety Regulations; Also Considers Additional Financial Reporting on Pipelines




June 13, 2019

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today considered two separate rulemaking proposals related to pipeline operations in Pennsylvania – seeking comment on issues addressing both pipeline safety regulations and periodic financial reporting by pipeline public utilities.

The Commission voted 5-0 to seek broad-based public input on an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Order (ANOPR), to help guide discussions about potential changes to Commission safety regulations that would more comprehensively regulate public utilities transporting petroleum products and other hazardous liquids in intrastate commerce.

Additionally, the Commission voted 5-0 to seek comment on a separate Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), which proposes that crude oil, gasoline, and petroleum products transportation pipeline public utilities would be required to file annual depreciation reports, service life study reports, and capital investment plan reports.

The ANOPR related to pipeline safety regulations notes that Pennsylvania has adopted the minimum Federal pipeline safety standards, as part of participation in safety programs administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), but also adds that states may pass more stringent regulations. 

Today’s action by the Commission seeks comments on possible amendments and enhancements to Chapter 59 of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s regulations (52 Pa.Code) “to more comprehensively regulate the design, construction, operations and maintenance of public utilities transporting petroleum products and other hazardous liquids under the jurisdiction of the Commission.” 

The Commission’s ANOPR offered several possible subject areas that commenters may wish to address, including:

  • Pipeline material and specification.
  • Cover over buried pipelines.
  • Underground clearances.
  • Valves.
  • Pipeline conversion.
  • Construction compliance.
  • Pressure testing and maximum operating pressure.
  • Line markers.
  • Inspections of pipeline rights of way.
  • Emergency flow restricting devices.
  • Leak detection.
  • Corrosion control and cathodic protection.
  • Utility interactions with local government officials.
  • Requirements for periodic public awareness meetings.
  • Pennsylvania specific enhancements to utility public awareness programs.
  • Regulation of construction techniques such as horizontal directional drilling.
  • Accident and incident reporting criteria.
  • Protection of public and private water wells and supplies.
  • Land agents and eminent domain.
  • Background investigations of employees and contractors.
  • Integration of new regulations on existing facilities.

While the Commission offered those subject areas for possible comment, it also emphasized that the scope of comments is not limited to just those areas and concerned parties may wish to raise additional matters.

Written comments referencing Docket No. L-2019-3010267 should be submitted within 60 days of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments may be filed electronically through the Commission’s e-File System or sent to:

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Attn: Secretary Rosemary Chiavetta
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120 

Also today, the Commission sought comment on the expansion of existing regulations included in Chapter 73 of the Public Utility Commission’s regulations (52 Pa.Code), which would require periodic depreciation reporting, service life study reporting, and capital investment reporting for public utilities providing pipeline transportation of crude oil, gasoline and petroleum products. Currently, those reporting requirements only apply to electric service, gas service, and water service public utilities. 

As noted by the Commission during development of the Chapter 73 regulations, the regular reporting of a public utility’s depreciation practices and capital planning is an important tool in helping to determine whether a public utility is capable (now and in the future) of providing safe, efficient, and adequate service.

Written comments referencing Docket No. L-2019-3010270 should be submitted within 30 days of publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments may be filed electronically through the Commission’s e-File System or sent to:

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Attn: Secretary Rosemary Chiavetta
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120 

 The proposed regulations included in today’s NOPR will also be submitted to the Office of Attorney General for review and approval; the Governor’s Budget Office for review for fiscal impact; the Independent Regulatory Review Commission for review and comment; and the Legislative Standing Committees.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.

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Docket Nos.:
L-2019-3010267
L-2019-3010270

 



Contact:Nils Hagen-Frederiksen
Press Secretary
717-783-6152
nhagen-fre@pa.gov


Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Press Office
P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
(717) 787-5722 FAX (717) 787-4193

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