Sec. 150-4-5 - Engineering Requirements

§ 150-4-5. Engineering Requirements

5.1. Adequacy of facilities.

5.1.1. Construction and maintenance of plant.

5.1.1.a. Each utility shall at all times construct and maintain its entire plant and system in such condition that it will furnish safe, adequate and continuous service.

5.1.1.b. The standards as set out by the United States Department of Transportation entitled "Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline: Minimum Safety Standards" and amendments thereto, as published in Title 49 CFR Parts 191 and 192, shall be accepted as standards for construction and the maintenance of safe and adequate service.

5.1.2. Inspection of plant -- Each utility shall inspect its plant and facilities in such manner and with such frequency as may be necessary to ensure a reasonably complete knowledge as to their conditions and adequacy at all times. Such inspections must comply with the requirements of the Federal Minimum Safety Standards, as published in Title 49 CFR Part 192.

5.1.3. Records of conditions -- Records of the conditions found necessary for the proper maintenance of the system and in accordance with the Federal Minimum Safety Standards shall be kept of the conditions found. In special cases, a more complete record may be specified by the Commission.

5.1.4. Records of operation -- Each utility shall keep a record of the operation of its plant, which, so far as practical, shall show such details of plant operation as may be necessary to substantially reproduce its operations. The records shall also be maintained in accordance with the requirements of the Minimum Safety Standards.

5.1.5. Reports to Commission -- Each utility shall, upon request of the Commission, file with the Commission a statement regarding the condition and adequacy of its plant, equipment, and facilities, and of its operations and service in such form as the Commission may require.

5.2. Interstate operation -- Every utility shall measure and record separately the quantity of gas which it exports out of the State of West Virginia, and the quantity imported into West Virginia.

5.3. Lost and unaccounted for gas.

5.3.1. Waste -- all practices in the production, distribution, consumption, or use of natural gas which are wasteful are hereby expressly prohibited.

5.3.2. Determination of Required -- Each utility shall determine either by measurement or by estimate, the amount of gas "lost and unaccounted for" in each division of its system, that is, production, transmission and distribution; and report, separately, to the Commission in its annual report, the amount of such "lost and unaccounted for" gas and the length in feet of each size of pipe, in each division. In reporting "lost and unaccounted for" gas, the utility shall show, when data is available, amounts attributable to billing lag and pressure differences.

5.3.3. Production and transmission system.

5.3.3.a. In case the amount of "lost and unaccounted for" gas is not determined from measurement, the utility shall make pressure drop tests each year on selected lines in the production and/or transmission system. The 3-inch equivalent length of lines or lines tested shall be not less than five percent (5%) of the total miles of 3-inch equivalent main in such systems.

5.3.3.b. In selecting lines for pressure drop tests, the utility shall consult with the Public Service Commission regarding locations for making such tests, and shall advise the Commission of the time and place such tests are to be made in order that the Commission may send a representative to witness the test, if it so desires.

5.3.4. Distribution systems -- Utilities shall measure gas into their distribution plants for the purpose of obtaining data necessary to conduct a safe operation of the system.

5.3.5. Basis of estimates -- When reporting the amount of "lost and unaccounted for" gas which has been determined by estimate, the utility shall set out in detail the manner in which the estimate was made, including in such explanation all known facts and methods used in making the estimate.

5.4. Installation of services and meters.

5.4.1. Displacement meters -- All gas utilities shall adopt standard methods for installing meters. Such methods shall be set out with a written description and with drawings to the extent necessary for a clear understanding of the requirements, and submitted to the Commission for approval. Copies of approved standard methods shall be made available to prospective customers and contractors, or others engaged in the business of placing pipe for gas utilization (residential only).

5.4.2. Orifice meters -- All orifice meter settings shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with accepted good practice. (Accepted good practice at present is best indicated by the American Gas Association Gas Measurement Committee Report No. 3, or amendments thereto). All orifice meters installed in accordance to American Gas Association Gas Measurement Committee Report No. 2 need not be remodeled in accordance with Committee Report No. 3 unless the utility elects to do so.

5.4.3. Company service -- In connecting its distribution mains to the customer's premises, the utility shall furnish, install and maintain the following, which shall remain its property: the company service piping, including a service connection to the main, defined in Rule 2.3.2., including a service tee or saddle, curb box, and curb valve. All of the foregoing shall be designated as the "company service piping."

5.4.4. Customer service piping -

5.4.4.a. Installation -- The customer, or the customer's designee, shall furnish and install the necessary pipe to make connection from the company service provided by the utility at the property line abutting the utility's main, to the inlet of the meter. The customer service piping shall be installed by the customer in accordance with the utility's safety requirements for such installation. The utility's safety requirements are set forth in its tariff as required pursuant to Rule 8.3., infra. In the installation of customer service piping, the customer must not install any tees or branch connections. Further, if plastic piping is installed, tracer wire and warning tape for direct burial must be used so that the plastic line may be readily located.

5.4.4.b. Inspection and connection by utility -- The customer, or the customer's designee, must leave the trench open and pipe uncovered until the customer service piping is inspected by an individual on behalf of the utility who has been determined to be qualified by the utility for such inspection tasks in compliance with 49 C.F.R. part 192, and is shown to be free of any irregularity or defect. The customer service piping must be connected at each end and tested by the utility, or the utility's designee, prior to initiation of service.

5.4.4.c. Maintenance -- The customer service piping is sometimes owned by the customer, and other times owned by the utility. The customer shall not make any change in or interfere with the customer service piping without the utility's approval. The customer shall keep the customer service piping in good repair, if the customer owns the customer service piping. Regardless of who owns the customer service piping, the utility shall operate and maintain the customer service piping. For purposes of this rule, operation and maintenance shall include

5.4.4.c.1. locating (as close as practicable) and marking the customer service piping as part of a damage prevention program, using the utility's best efforts;

5.4.4.c.2. cathodically protecting, in case of metal pipe installed after July 31, 1971, and monitoring the customer service piping for external corrosion;

5.4.4.c.3. conducting periodic leakage surveys, and if an unsafe condition is found, shutting off the flow of gas.

5.4.4.c.3.A. If the customer owns the customer service piping, advising the customer of the need to repair the unsafe condition in accordance with the utility's safety requirements as set forth in its tariff.

5.4.4.c.3.B. If the utility owns the customer service piping, repairing the unsafe condition; and

5.4.4.c.4. testing to reinstate service on a disconnected line.

5.5. Extension of mains -- Extensions shall be made to the utility's mains in accordance with the following provisions:

5.5.1. Free extensions.

5.5.1.a. Whenever an extension of a utility's distribution system is necessary in order that an applicant or group of applicants may receive service in the territory within which the utility operates, the utility shall extend its mains, without cost to the applicant or applicants, for a distance of 100 feet for each applicant who actually takes the service when gas is available.

5.5.1.b. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit a utility from making, at its expense, longer free extensions than herein prescribed, should its judgment so dictate, provided like free extensions are made to other applicants under similar conditions.

5.5.2. Extensions subject to surcharge -- When an extension of a utility's mains, longer than that provided for in Rule 5.5.1.a. is necessary in order that an applicant or a group of applicants may receive service, the utility shall install the additional main according to the following provisions:

5.5.2.a. The utility shall build the entire extension at its own cost.

5.5.2.b. The total construction cost of the extension shall be determined in accordance with the Commission's classification of accounts for gas utilities, and from such total construction cost there shall be deducted:

5.5.2.b.1. Costs incident to any increase in the size of the main in excess of 4-inch pipe size, (unless larger pipe size is necessary to provide adequate and satisfactory service) increase in length necessary for future expansion or to continue a construction plan of the utility; and costs necessary to correct inadequate capacity.

5.5.2.b.2. The total construction cost of that portion of the extension constituting a free extension, which includes meters, service regulators, and service connections.

5.5.2.c. The remaining cost shall be used as a base for determining the surcharge.

5.5.2.d. The cost per foot of the extension shall be based upon the average installed cost per foot for the entire extension after deducting the items enumerated in Rule 5.5.2.b.1. and Rule 5.5.2.b.2.

5.5.2.e. The total surcharge shall be twelve percent (12%) per annum of the surcharge base.

5.5.2.f. The twelve percent (12%) per annum shall be equally divided between all customers: Provided, however, that in case an industrial or commercial customer desires to be served from the proposed extension, such customer shall assume that proportion of the twelve percent (12%) per annum which is represented by the ratio of such customer's estimated annual consumption to the total estimated annual consumption of all customers on the proposed extension. The remainder the monthly surcharge shall be divided between the remaining customers.

5.5.2.g. In order to limit the number of different surcharges, all monthly surcharges shall be adjusted to the nearest five (5) cents.

5.5.2.h. Surcharges will be adjusted downward only, at the end of each calendar year, to adjust for additional customers who have been added to the extension during the year. Such adjustment of surcharges shall be continued until the computed surcharge is to two and one-half (2 ½) cents or less, at which time the extension attains the status of a free extension, and the surcharge shall be discontinued entirely.

5.5.3. Extensions not more than 200 feet per customer -- When an extension of the utility's mains to serve an applicant or group of applicants amounts to more than one hundred (100) feet, but not more than two hundred (200) feet, per applicant, the utility shall make the extension and each applicant will be subject to a surcharge on the number of feet of main installed greater than the free extension of one hundred (100) feet per applicant.

5.5.4. Extensions more than 200 feet per customer.

5.5.4.a. When an extension of the utility's mains, to serve an applicant or group of applicants, amounts to more than two hundred (200) feet per customer, the total cost of the excess footage over two hundred (200) feet per customer shall be deposited with the utility by the applicant or applicants, or through their authorized agent, based on the average estimated cost per foot of the total extension. This deposit shall be subject to refund as hereinafter provided. Each customer receiving gas service from such extension will be billed under rates plus the surcharge applicable as set forth herein above.

5.5.4.b. At the end of each calendar year, for a period of ten years, the utility will refund to the customer or customers, or their duly authorized agent, who paid for the excess footage over 200 feet per customer, the cost of additional footage over 200 feet of pipe, in place, but not to exceed 200 feet for each additional customer, as of December 31, each year, but in no case shall the total amount refunded exceed the amount paid the utility. After ten (10) years no refund will be made. No reduction in surcharge will be made until all parties who paid for the extension over two hundred (200) feet per customer have been reimbursed, or until ten (10) years have elapsed since completion of construction, and when either of such occurrences shall take place then Rule 5.5.2.h. hereof shall apply.

5.5.4.c. Each additional customer added to the extension after original surcharge has been established, shall pay the applicable surcharge.

5.5.5. Term of agreement - The term of the contract shall be for one (1) year except that the utility may require a longer term, not to exceed for (4) years, for commercial and industrial customers. At the expiration of the initial term, the agreement will continue in effect from year thereafter, unless the customer shall notify the utility, in writing, of a desire to cancel the contract, not less than thirty (30) days prior to the termination of the initial contract period, or thirty (30) days prior to the termination of any contract year thereafter.

5.5.6. Construction conditions -- Construction of line extensions, as provided in this rule, shall be undertaken promptly after all negotiations have been completed and necessary right-of-way agreements have been delivered to the utility, all prospective customers have signed contracts, and after not less than fifty percent (50%) of the contract signers have completed the customer service, buried and house piping necessary to serve their premises and are ready to receive service. The mains shall be constructed over the most practicable route. The surcharge shall be based on the number of customers who actually take the service when gas is available to them.

5.5.7. Right-of-way -- With respect to the item "right-of-way", it is the purpose of this rule that utilities shall not in general be required to build line extensions over private rights-of-way. If the construction of an extension involves the utility's incurring expense for right-of-way easements, either by purchase or condemnation, the cost of said right-of-way, together with all costs of securing, and other related costs, shall be included in the cost of the extension.

5.5.8. Customer service piping -- The customer shall supply the customer service piping, the customer buried piping, the house piping, all rights-of-way, railway and other crossing permits, and all construction necessary to bring the terminus of the customer service piping to a location where it can be connected to the company service as fixed and provided for in these rules.

5.5.9. Exception to extension rule.

5.5.9.a. The utility may be relieved by the Commission from making extensions under the foregoing rule after presenting to the Commission data showing the purposes for the proposed extension to be of a temporary, unreliable or intermittent nature or if unusual conditions make the cost of the extension economically prohibitive.

5.5.9.b. Nothing contained herein shall be construed to prohibit a utility from making extension of mains under difference arrangements, should its judgment so dictate, provided the above rule is fully explained to the applicant or applicants, and like arrangements are made to other applicant or applicants under similar conditions.

5.5.10. Extension of an extension.

5.5.10.a. If an extension is made to an existing extension, subject to surcharge, and the surcharge computed for the new extension is equal to or less than the surcharge on the existing extension, the existing extension and the addition thereto shall be considered as one extension and a new surcharge shall be determined which will be applicable to all customers on the combined extensions.

5.5.10.b. An extension to an extension which requires surcharges greater than those prevailing on the extension from which it originates, will be considered as a separate extension. When the surcharges become equal, the two shall be considered as a single extension.

5.5.11. Extensions applicable in real estate subdivisions.

5.5.11.a. The applicant desiring an extension to a prospective real estate subdivision shall pay the entire cost of the extension. The utility may require the applicant to deposit an amount equal to the estimated cost of the project before construction is started, which deposit shall not draw interest. At the end of each calendar year, for a period of ten (10) years, the utility will refund to the applicant who paid for the extension, or his authorized agent, a sum equivalent to the cost of 100 feet of pipe installed in the extension for each additional customer as of December 31st, but in no case will the total amount refunded exceed the amount paid to the utility. After ten (10) years from the completion of the extension no refund will be made.

5.5.11.b. Customers locating on an extension made under Rule 5.5.11 will not be charged an extension surcharge.

5.6. Main line high-pressure taps to serve rural customers.

5.6.1. Equipment furnished by utility - When an applicant, or number of applicants, not large enough to merit the installation of an intermediate or low pressure distribution system, desire gas service which must be supplied from a transmission or field line, the utility shall, without cost to the customer, make the tap, install a stop cock, metering and appurtenant equipment, exclusive of the regulator or regulators, oil seal or other type pressure relief device, and the line. All meters and regulators installed according to this rule shall be housed at the expense of the customer.

5.6.2. General provisions -

5.6.2.a. All such installations shall have at least one (1) regulator and shall also be provided with excess pressure protection. This safety device shall be installed near the customer's meter and shall be set to relieve any pressure in excess of ten (10) ounces, unless higher pressure is necessary in order to furnish service.

5.6.2.b. The number of regulators required shall be determined by the maximum operating pressure existing in the line at any time during the preceding twelve (12) month period, unless changes in operating conditions are contemplated that would require more regulators, in which case additional regulators may be required.

5.6.2.c. On lines in which the maximum pressure does not exceed sixty (60) pound gauge, a service type regulator shall be used. When the maximum gauge pressure existing in the line does not exceed one hundred fifty (150) pounds, two or more regulators shall be used to reduce the pressure. On lines in which the maximum gauge pressure exceeds one hundred fifty (150) pounds, sufficient regulators for safe operation shall be installed.

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