TECO Peoples Gas to replace cast iron pipes, to improve safety and reliability
TAMPA, August 16, 2012
TECO Peoples Gas is set to begin an aggressive program to replace all cast-iron and bare steel distribution pipes to improve the safety, integrity and reliability of its system.
When complete, the 10-year program will replace about 150 miles of cast iron pipe and about 400 miles of bare steel pipe – which together comprise about 4 percent of the Peoples Gas system. The company will invest about $8 million a year in the accelerated program that will begin in January.
“This will make our secure natural gas lines even safer for Florida residents,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Peoples Gas.
Cast iron and bare steel pipes were widely installed throughout the country for distribution of natural gas until the 1970s. Current standards call for pipe made of polyethylene, a high-density plastic, or coated steel, which resists corrosion.
After tragic accidents in the past two years in San Bruno, Calif., and Allentown, Pa., the U.S. Department of Transportation urged natural gas utilities to increase replacement of these older materials before they became a threat to safety.
Peoples Gas has been proactively replacing older pipes for more than a decade, but with increased national attention on the safety of natural gas lines, the company sought to accelerate the replacement.
The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved the program Aug. 14. The program will cost the average residential natural gas customer about 5 cents per month in 2013.Peoples Gas System , Florida’s largest natural gas distribution company, is one of the four core businesses of TECO Energy Inc. (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated electric and gas utility operations in Florida through Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System . Peoples Gas serves nearly 340,000 customers in most of Florida’s major metropolitan areas and beyond. Other TECO Energy subsidiaries include TECO Coal, which owns and operates coal production facilities in Kentucky and Virginia, and TECO Guatemala, which is engaged in electric power generation and energy-related businesses in Guatemala.