Nevada Public Utilities Commission to investigate tightening gas pipeline safety rules | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada Public Utilities Commission to investigate tightening gas pipeline safety rules

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada is opening an investigation into how to tighten gas pipeline safety regulations.

The proposal would apply to natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas utilities, requiring them to conduct annual leak detection surveys of all distribution lines. The surveys would be required at least once each calendar year on all pipelines.

A spokesman said if enacted, Nevada would be the first state to apply such a standard to every type, vintage and mile of distribution pipe.

Federal rules currently require annual leak surveys but only in areas considered business districts. But that determination is not uniform across different utilities.

In areas outside of business districts — such as residential areas — leak inspection surveys are only required every five years

Staff argued for the new rule saying identifying leaks sooner will reduce the risk of injury and property damage from an explosion caused by a gas leak. The cost of damages from recent gas incidents nationwide have reached the millions of dollars, according to staff. They said avoiding just one incident would offset the cost of the increased annual leak detection surveys.