HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today initiated an in-depth analysis into pipeline safety and replacement at Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW). The analysis is a follow-up to issues discussed at the Nov. 14, 2014, en banc hearing on PGW related to safety and aging infrastructure.
“We discussed many issues with PGW at the en banc hearing, but our biggest concern continues to be the safety of Philadelphia consumers, which is threatened by at-risk pipelines and an alarmingly slow replacement schedule,” said PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson. “We will take an in-depth look at PGW and determine what may be done to accelerate this process and avoid tragic accidents, while at the same time being mindful of how much of a burden ratepayers can bear.”
Upon completion of the review, the Commission intends to release a report of its findings.
Chairman Powelson ordered all relevant PUC bureaus to begin a comprehensive three-step analysis into the utility that includes:
1) Reviewing current condition of PGW’s system integrity;
2) Analyzing PGW’s current pipeline replacement schedule; and
3) Identifying impediments to pipeline replacement by PGW and means to accelerate replacement.
According to public records, about 49 percent of PGW’s pipeline (1,994 miles) is considered “at risk” and is in need of replacement. PGW has the highest percentage of risky pipeline versus total miles of main of any Pennsylvania natural gas utility by a factor of two. At the current rate of pipeline replacement, it will take about 80 years to replace all at-risk pipe. In 2013, it cost PGW about $1.4 million to replace one mile of pipe.
PGW serves approximately 479,000 residential and 25,600 commercial and industrial customers within the city of Philadelphia.
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