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Jurisdiction & Regulations

Jurisdiction

The Pennsylvania legislature has empowered the Public Utility Commission to direct and enforce safety standards for pipeline facilities and to regulate safety practices of certificated utilities engaged in the transportation of natural gas and other gas by pipeline. The Public Utility Commission also has authority to enforce federal pipeline safety laws as they relate to non-public utility gas and hazardous liquids pipeline equipment and facilities within Pennsylvania, including cooperatively owned natural gas distribution systems, non-utility natural gas transportation, and gathering lines and propane distribution systems. More information about non-public utility pipelines may be found on the Act 127 page and in the 2011 Act 127 document.

The Commission is annually authorized and certified to enforce federal safety standards by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Pipeline Safety per 49 U.S.C. 60105. Under a 60105 Certification, the State Agency assumes inspection and enforcement responsibility with respect to intrastate facilities over which it has jurisdiction under State law. With a Certification, the State Agency may adopt additional or more stringent standards for intrastate pipeline facilities provided such standards are compatible with Federal regulations. 49 U.S.C. Chapter 601 provides the statutory basis for the pipeline safety program and establishes a framework for promoting pipeline safety through exclusive Federal authority for regulation of interstate pipeline facilities and State authority for all or part of the intrastate pipeline facilities under annual Certification.

Whenever the Commission uncovers pipeline safety violations, it is empowered to direct the utility to take necessary steps to correct the violation.

The PUC investigates all methods or practices of pipeline companies, including reports, records and other information. PUC investigators inspect the property, buildings, plants and offices of the pipeline companies and inspect books, records, paper, email and documents relevant to the enforcement of the rules and regulations.

If an inspector finds evidence of a possible violation, a violation report is written. The Pipeline Safety Division will notify the gas utility of the results of the onsite evaluation, specifically citing the gas pipeline safety regulation the gas utility is apparently violating. The gas utility must answer with a written response to the PUC within 30 days of notification.

The gas utility and the Pipeline Safety Division will work together to reach an agreement on how to correct the violation. If an agreement can not be reached, the Pipeline Safety Division can refer the problem to the PUC for formal resolution by issuing a complaint, setting a penalty, or seeking enforcement through the court system.

Regulations

The Pipeline Safety Division has more than 20 inspectors who are located across the state and who are on call 24 hours a day for emergencies. They check for compliance of the Commission and federal gas pipeline safety regulations to insure compliance by the gas operators.

These regulations are designed to assist operators in recognizing and preventing problems before they become hazardous. In addition, each operator must have a damage prevention program and an emergency response program. The damage prevention program must include provisions to ensure compliance with the state's Underground Utility Protect Act, better known as the One Call Act.

The Pipeline Safety Division also has the authority to enforce certain federal gas pipeline safety regulations, as set forth in 49 U.S.C.§§60101, et seq., and implemented in 49 C.F.R. Parts 191-193, 199.

PA Code
Gas service information included at this site is directly from the Pennsylvania Code, the Commonwealth's official publication of rules and regulations.

Definitions
Link to Pa. Code's list of definitions for gas service and safety.

Federal Regulations
Link to the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49 Transportation.

Formal Enforcement Actions

Records of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission formal enforcement actions pertaining to pipeline safety are available online. To locate records for a specific company, go to the Public Document Search, and enter the utility name. You may narrow your search by entering a specific time period and a document type, such as "Complaint." This will produce a list of cases.

Need More Help?

If you can't find what you're looking for here, please contact the PA Public Utility Commission. Call us at 1-800-692-7380 or contact us online.

Document Search

Public utility documents available electronically include case dockets, public meeting orders and more.

Filing & Resources

Find utility-related reports, laws and regulations, federal filings, tariffs, procedures and more.

eFILING

Consumers, utilities and attorneys can save time by submitting documents to the PUC electronically.