TECO Peoples Gas invests $100 million a year to keep our natural gas system safe and reliable for our customers throughout Florida. This includes $12 million annually on a 10-year program that began in 2013 to replace our 100 miles of cast iron and 354 miles of bare steel mains. At that time, the older pipe comprised about 3.8 percent of our 12,000 miles of distribution mains – all buried underground. Today, with our accelerated program, only 2.7 percent of this old pipe remains (72 miles of cast iron and 251 miles of bare steel mains).
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.
Peoples Gas has been proactively replacing older pipes for more than a decade. But, after tragic accidents (San Bruno, Calif. in 2010 and in Allentown, Pa. in 2011), the company sought and gained approval from the Florida Public Service Commission to accelerate the replacement.
To see how upgrades are done to minimize impacts on our customers, watch this video about pipeline replacement in a typical neighborhood.