The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved funding to continue improvements to Florida’s natural gas infrastructure. Programs approved to receive 2019 surcharges are Peoples Gas System’s (Peoples) Cast Iron/Bare Steel Pipe Replacement Rider (Rider), and the Gas Reliability Infrastructure Programs (GRIP) at Florida Public Utilities Company (FPUC), the Florida Division of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (Chesapeake), and FPUC’s Fort Meade.
“Customer safety is of utmost concern in the natural gas industry,” said PSC Chairman Art Graham. “These utilities’ commitments to upgrading crucial infrastructure helps maintain safe and reliable natural gas service to Florida customers.”
Cast iron is subject to corrosion which may lead to cracking if exposed to mechanical pressures, such as excavation or heavy road traffic. Pitting can occur in unprotected bare steel distribution pipes, reducing the pipeline’s structural integrity.
As a safety measure, the U.S. Department of Transportation has urged natural gas utilities to replace these older facilities. The Rider and GRIP programs, approved by the PSC in 2012, allow utilities to recover costs for accelerated replacement and modernization of natural gas pipelines. The surcharges were first implemented in January 2013.
Effective January 1, 2019, the new monthly Rider surcharge is $1.05 for a Peoples’ residential customer using 20 therms. The new monthly GRIP surcharge is $4.27 for an FPUC residential customer using 20 therms; $2.72 for a Chesapeake residential customer; and $5.88 for a Fort Meade residential customer. An annual mechanism to track savings in operations and maintenance expense and depreciation is required for both pipeline improvement programs.
Today, the PSC also approved Florida City Gas’s Safety, Access, and Facility Enhancement (SAFE) program factors. The SAFE program relocates certain existing gas mains and associated facilities from rear lot easements to the street front, improving access and customer service. The approved fixed monthly SAFE surcharge is $.21 for customers using less than 6,000 therms per year and $.40 for customers using more than 6,000 therms per year.
For additional information, visit floridapsc.com.