On March 7, APGA’s Vice President of Operations, John Erickson, spoke at the Alabama Natural Gas Association (ANGA) conference in Hoover, Ala. The conference attracted over 200 municipal utility operators and exhibitors to learn about the latest in the energy business. John’s talk focused on APGA programs to assist operators with regulatory compliance and improve operations.
John began by discussing the changes in the regulatory philosophy in Washington resulting from the change in administrations. As a result of executive orders mandating that agencies withdraw two regulations for every new regulation, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) did not issue any major regulations in 2017.
He reviewed the results from the 2017 Gas Overall Awareness Level (GOAL) public awareness effectiveness surveys. APGA GOAL began in 2006 as a method for operators to determine the extent to which customers and non-customers living near distribution lines understood gas safety messages. The results, even in 2006 before the new public awareness rule took effect, indicate a high level of natural gas safety knowledge in both customers and non-customers. 2017 results show some improvement over 2006, but it is difficult to show major improvement when initial results showed such high levels of knowledge. Over 175 systems are using GOAL and members can enroll at any time.
John also discussed the APGA System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) program. SOAR recognizes members that are committed to operational excellence. Systems submit data and are judged on four areas: employee safety, system integrity, workforce development and system improvement. 2018 applications closed March 2, but he encouraged attendees to go to www.apga.org/SOAR to review the application process and apply in 2019 when the process reopens.
He closed by reviewing the status of SHRIMP and other Security and Integrity Foundation (SIF) programs.
For questions on this article, please contact John Erickson of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-0834 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org