[Docket No. 19-09011]
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) adopted proposed regulations for annual leak surveys for all distribution systems. Nevada becomes the first state in the nation to apply such a standard to every type, vintage and mile of distribution pipe. These regulations were approved by the state Legislative Commission on October 22, 2021.
The PUCN opened an investigation and rulemaking docket in 2019 to consider requiring natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) utilities to conduct annual leak detection surveys of all distribution pipelines. Staff recommended that the PUCN mandate leak detection surveys at least once each calendar year at intervals not exceeding 15 months for all systems transporting natural gas or LPG.
Current federal regulations require operators to conduct annual leak detection only in “business districts” within a utility’s service area; however, the regulations do not define “business districts.” Utilities were responsible for determining what areas are considered “business districts,” but that determination was not uniform across utilities and led to variations in how operators determined which properties should be subject to annual leak surveys.
In areas outside of business districts, federal regulations require leak detection surveys at least once every five years. By requiring annual leak detection surveys on all distribution systems transporting natural gas or LPG, the inspections will ensure all business and residential areas are surveyed in a timely manner.
For more information about the investigation and rulemaking proceeding, visit the PUCN website at pucnv.gov. From the top navigational bar on the home page, select Dockets and then select All Dockets, scroll to Docket No. 19-09011 and click “View.”