On July 12, APGA’s John Erickson spoke at the Mississippi Natural Gas Association’s 40th Annual Meeting in Orange Beach, Ala., on current issues affecting operators of gas utilities. His presentation focused on APGA programs to assist members to improve the safety and efficiency of their operations; however, John began by noting that no significant regulations have been issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in the past 12 months. Several regulations are pending, including changes to plastic pipe regulations, operator qualification regulations and transmission regulations. The first two have gone through public comment and could be issued at any time; however, the Executive Order requiring agencies to remove existing regulations to offset the cost of new regulations has added an extra step in PHMSA’s normal rulemaking process.
He continued with an overview of APGA’s System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) , Gas Overall Awareness Level (GOAL) and benchmarking programs. He encouraged our Kentucky members to apply for SOAR when the application process reopens on January 1, 2019. Eighteen utilities will be recognized at APGA’s upcoming Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore., for their demonstrated dedication to operational excellence and safety.
He noted that one Mississippi utility is using the APGA GOAL program to measure the effectiveness of their public awareness programs with customers and non-customers living near their lines. GOAL uses automated calling to poll a statistical sample of customers and non-customers on their awareness of critical gas safety messages including how to recognize a leak, what to do if they smell gas and the importance of calling before digging. Users receive a report comparing their results with the totals for all 175 GOAL users. He encouraged members not currently using GOAL to look at information on GOAL on APGA’s website.
John also described APGA’s benchmarking program that allow members to compare themselves with other utilities in nearly 100 areas such as leaks per mile of main by cause, average $/MCF charged to residential, commercial and industrial customers and number of excavation damages per locate request.
For questions on this article, please contact John Erickson of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org