THE SOURCE - Spring 2016 - (Page 26)

the pipeline Excess Flow Valves for Larger Capacity Service Lines S ince 2010, utilities have been installing excess flow valves (EFV) on new and replaced service lines to single-family residences. EFVs are simple devices installed in gas service lines at the connection to the main that remain open under normal flows, but will close if flow exceeds the EFV's trip point, which could occur if the service line is severed by an excavator. EFVs are inexpensive to install when a service line is first installed or later replaced, but can be significantly more expensive to install on an existing service line. By the end of 2014, over 9 million EFVs were in service and over 800,000 new EFVs are being installed each year. EFVs are available in capacities suitable for larger gas demand service lines such as multifamily residential and commercial customers. In 2011, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) convened a group of experts from industry, EFV manufacturers and state pipeline safety agencies to advise PHMSA on the state-of-the-art technology in excess flow valves and the feasibility of installing EFVs on larger capacity services. The working group found that EFVs were available and being installed by some utilities on small multifamily and commercial customers' service lines. Based on the working group's findings, PHMSA proposed to require utilities to install EFVs on new and replaced residential and commercial service lines if the meter capacity on the line is 1,000 cubic feet per hour (cfh) or less. On new and replaced service lines with meter capacities over 1,000 cfh, the utility would be required to install a manually-operated "curb valve." In addition, within 90 days of a customer first receiving gas at a particular location, the utility must provide written notification to the customer of their right to request the installation of an EFV and must install an EFV on the existing service line if the customer so requests. If and how the cost of EFV installation is recovered is left to the utility and whatever body approves its rates. Some utilities may elect to charge the customer for the cost of installing the EFV, whereas others may roll these costs into rates paid by all customers. 26 THE SOURCE | THE vOiCE and CHOiCE Of pUbliC gaS Because of the experience gained with EFVs over the past few years, the industry is more comfortable with PHMSA's proposed EFV installation requirements than it has been in past EFV rulemakings. In fact, both APGA and the American Gas Association's comments on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking suggested PHMSA mandate EFV installation on new and renewed residential and commercial services up to 1,000 cfh. There were no negative comments filed with PHMSA on this aspect of PHMSA's proposal; therefore, it is reasonable to assume PHMSA will go forward with a final rule with little or no change. The curb valve and customer notification and EFV notification and retrofit requirements caused some concern by industry commenters. APGA commented that notifying customers "within 90 days of the customer first receiving gas at a particular location" could require a utility to modify its billing system so a bill insert could be added to just certain customers' bills. APGA suggested that, as an alternative, utilities

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Spring 2016

First Person
APGA Events
A Friendly Business Partnership of Two of the Nation’s Largest Utilities Can Benefit the Natural Gas Industry
Natural Gas Direct-Use in Net Zero Energy Buildings
Henry Hub and Changing Liquidity in the North American Gas Market
Cold Season Planning Preparedness: From Supply to Delivery
Natural Gas Power Plant Opportunities
Legislative Outlook
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
Advertisers’ Index/
At Last

THE SOURCE - Spring 2016