THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 26

the pipeline

PHMSA's Excess Flow Valve Rule
Takes Effect April 14


n October 14, 2016 the Pipeline
and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration (PHMSA) issued
a final rule expanding the requirement
for utilities to install excess flow valves
(EFV) on certain new and replaced
service lines. EFVs are devices installed in
a service line near the connection to the
gas main that are designed to shut if gas
flow exceeds the trip point of the EFV.
A properly sized EFV is set so it will not
trip under normal flow conditions, even
with all downstream appliances running
at 100 percent capacity, but if the service
line is ruptured by excavation or other
forces, the EFV will close, reducing the
risk of fire and injury.
The gas industry first began using
EFVs in the 1960s and 1970s; however,
some EFVs were prone to close under
normal loads, leading some utilities
to stop installing EFVs and remove
previously installed EFVs. Other utilities
had good experiences and continued
to install EFVs on new and replaced
services. When a new service is being
installed or an existing service is
replaced, the cost to install an EFV can
be around $25-35 since the connection
to the main has already been exposed
for the service line connection. EFVs
typically come preinstalled in the
tapping tee that connects the service to
the main or in a short length of pipe so
there is little or no extra labor involved
when installing an EFV on a new or
replaced service. To retrofit an EFV on an
existing service, however, could cost over

$1,000 due to the need to excavate, cut
out and replace pipe then backfill.
EFV installation of new and replaced
services to single residences has been
required since February 2010. Most APGA
members have reported relatively few
problems with the valves, with most
problems being caused by the actions
of others rather than a problem with
the EFV itself. Some customers have
added appliances such as tankless water
heaters and/or gas-fired emergency
generators that add significantly to the
maximum gas flow through the service
line and would cause the EFV to trip.
Some operators have had problems with
excavators digging into a service and
covering it up rather than report it to the
utility. Fortunately problems have proven
more of nuisance than an epidemic.
The new rule has three components.
First, operators must install EFVs on new
and replaced service lines that branch
to two or more single family residences,
that serve multifamily residential or that
serve small commercial customers if the
meter capacity on the service is 1,000
standard cubic feet per hour (SCFH)
of less. Second, all new and replaced
services with meter capacities over 1,000
SCFH must be equipped with a manual
shut off valve that is accessible to utility
personnel responding to an emergency
and to anyone else authorized by the
utility to operate these valves. Some
utilities train and equip firefighters to
close underground valves, but most
do not.
The third component of the rule
requires utilities to notify existing
customers about the benefits of EFVs
and install an EFV at the customer's
request. How each utility recovers
the cost of retrofitting an EFV on an
existing customer's service is left to the
determination of the utility and whatever
body approves the rates charged by the
utility, which for most public gas systems
is either a utility board or city council.


APGA's Operations and Safety
Committee formed a task group
to draft model language APGA
members can use to develop their EFV
notification. The model language can
be downloaded at
operationssafety. The model language
offers text describing the benefits of
EFVs and discusses four options for
cost recovery:
1. No cost to the requesting party,
rather costs are rolled into general
2. The requesting party pays the actual
cost of installation, which will be
determined on a case-by-case basis;
3. Requesting party pays a one-time
flat fee, $100 for example, that offsets
some of the cost to the utility; and,
4. A fixed fee, $5 for example, is added
to the requesting party's monthly
gas bill.
Although the future of all pending
regulations has been put into doubt
by executive orders issued by the
President, utilities would be wise to
be prepared to comply on the April 14
effective date of the rule. Preparation
would include creating bill stuffers, web
pages, mailers and other notification
materials to provide to customers. It
would also include updating service line
construction standards to specify EFV
and manual shut off valve installation
requirements, contacting EFV and
manual valve suppliers to acquire
adequate supplies of the various sized
EFVs and manual valves that will be
needed, training utility personnel in
the new procedures and developing
procedures for the periodic inspection
and maintenance of manual valves
installed under this new rule. The rule
does not require annual inspections
as it is required for valves required
in an emergency, but rather requires
the utility to adopt inspection and
maintenance intervals consistent with
valve manufacturer's specifications.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Summer 2017

First Person
APGA Events
Q&A: Representative Walden
A Conversation with an APGA Member
Look Out Your Window
Winning Insight into Gas Losses
Electrify, Electrify
Furnace Rule Update
Legislative Outlook
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
At Last
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - bellyband1
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - bellyband2
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - cover1
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - cover2
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 3
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 4
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 5
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 6
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 7
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 8
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - First Person
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - APGA Events
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 11
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - Q&A: Representative Walden
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - A Conversation with an APGA Member
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 14
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 15
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - Look Out Your Window
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 17
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - Winning Insight into Gas Losses
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 19
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - Electrify, Electrify
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 21
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - Furnace Rule Update
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - Legislative Outlook
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 24
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 25
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - The Pipeline
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - Marketing Matters
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 28
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - At Last
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - 30
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THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - cover4
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - outsert1
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - outsert2
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - outsert3
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - outsert4
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - outsert5
THE SOURCE - Summer 2017 - outsert6