Regulators eye 'lost' natural gas
State utility regulators on Thursday approved new steps to help ensure gas customers aren't paying for gas they never use.
The Public Utility Commission set new limits on the amount of natural gas that utility companies can lose, and set a new formula for those companies to calculate how much gas they have lost. Lost and unaccounted for gas wastes between $25.5 million and $131 million for consumers statewide, according to the commission.
Pipe leaks, faulty meters, emergency releases and several other issues cause most utilities in Pennsylvania to lose between 3 and 5 percent of their gas a year, although some are improving, commission data shows. The new rules will push them further and get them to focus on the biggest safety issue, gas that leaks out of faulty pipes, said Tanya J. McCloskey, the state's acting consumer advocate.
“It should provide an appropriate signal to the utilities to address lost and unaccounted for gas,” she said. “The higher the level (of lost gas), the more the charge is to other customers. So by lowering it, it should lower the rates for all customers.”
The commission is first creating one formula for companies to determine how much they have lost, replacing three different formulas the utilities now use. It streamlines the commission's oversight system, ensuring all the utilities are working by the same rules, commission spokeswoman Erika Dominick said.
The commission will allow the utilities to not count gas lost from construction, emergency purging, storage leaks, and temperature and pressure adjustments against themselves, Dominick said. Aside from that, the utilities will have to limit their lost and unaccounted for gas to 5 percent in 2014, shrinking to 3 percent by 2018.
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lower gasoline prices fail to spur consumer spending
- Retailers that won’t open on Thanksgiving hope move pays off
- Google applies tech to medical device
- Federal agency checking whether Highmark has enough doctors in Medicare plan
- Thanksgiving deals called the best
- Oil prices continue descent, dragging market indexes lower
- Housing prices nudge upward as more homes on market
- Household debt on the rise after 5-year decline
- Butler County firm Deep Well Services tackles tough gas wells
- Health care, gas drilling industries await Gov.-elect Wolf’s footprint
- Westinghouse to construct colossal nuke plant in Turkey