Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
PUC Revises Regulations for Steam Utilities, Adds New Safety Measures

Aug 8, 2017

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today (8/3) adopted regulations that revise and expand its steam heating service regulations, including new safety measures and inspection requirements for steam heat utilities.

The Commission voted 5-0 to adopt the Final Rulemaking Order following an extensive review of public comments on the proposed changes, which were initially sought in a November 2015 Proposed Rulemaking.  Currently, there are two active, jurisdictional steam public utilities in Pennsylvania:  NRG Energy Center, with locations in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, and Veolia Energy, located in Philadelphia.

"While the Commission has jurisdiction over a limited number of steam heat facilities, updating these regulations now is a timely, prudent step forward in reflecting modern standards and current best practices in the industry, as well as protecting the public's interest," said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown.

Additionally, Chairman Brown noted that to further ensure public safety the new regulations empower the PUC's Pipeline Safety Division to conduct inspections of jurisdictional steam distribution facilities, and prescribe minimum safety requirements for the design, fabrication, installation, inspection, testing, operation and maintenance of steam distribution systems in Pennsylvania. 

Among others, the amended regulations include:

  • Modernizing and updating accident regulations, per the revised regulations implemented for electric, gas, and water utilities in 2011;
  • Emphasizing that steam utilities must adhere to Pennsylvania One Call (the Underground Utility Line Protection Act) and comply with standard safety codes;
  • Adding regulations related to notification of major construction, operating and maintenance plans, customer education, recordkeeping, employee training, periodic inspections, steam leaks and emergency reporting, and welding; and
  • Minor revisions to clarify that steam utilities must adhere to the Commission's service outage regulations.

The Commission's final rulemaking now undergoes review by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the Governor's Budget Office, the state's Independent Regulatory Review Commission, 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.

For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter - @PA_PUC for all things utility.  "Like" Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Facebook for easy access to information on utility issues.

Docket No.: L-2015-2498111

For more information:

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission

400 N St
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
United States, 17105-3265
Tel: 717-787-5722

Link http://electricenergyonline.com/detail_news.php?ID=649801
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