Article 2. Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act Of 2011 of California Public Utilities Code >> Division 1. >> Part 1. >> Chapter 4.5. >> Article 2.
(a) This article shall be known and may be cited as the
Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 2011.
(b) The commission is the state authority responsible for
regulating and enforcing intrastate gas pipeline transportation and
pipeline facilities pursuant to Chapter 601 (commencing with Section
60101) of Subtitle VIII of Title 49 of the United States Code,
including the development, submission, and administration of a state
pipeline safety program certification for natural gas pipelines
pursuant to Section 60105 of that chapter.
(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have
the following meanings:
(1) "Gas pipeline" means an intrastate distribution line as
described in paragraph (1) of, or an intrastate transmission line as
described in paragraph (2) of, Section 950.
(2) "Hospital" means a licensed general acute care hospital as
defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety
(3) "School" means a public or private preschool, elementary, or
(b) A gas corporation shall provide not less than three working
days' notice to the administration of a school or hospital prior to
undertaking nonemergency excavation or construction of a gas pipeline
if the work is located within 500 feet of the school or hospital.
The notification shall include all of the following:
(1) The name, address, telephone number, and emergency contact
information for the gas corporation.
(2) The specific location of the gas pipeline where the excavation
or construction will be performed.
(3) The date and time the excavation or construction is to be
conducted and when the work is expected to be completed.
(4) An invitation and a telephone number to call for further
information on what the school or hospital should do in the event of
(c) The gas corporation shall maintain a record of the date and
time of any notification provided to the administration of a school
or hospital prior to undertaking nonemergency excavation or
construction of a gas pipeline and any subsequent contacts with the
administration of a school or hospital relative to the excavation or
construction and the actions taken, if any, in response to those
subsequent contacts. The gas corporation shall maintain these records
and make them available for inspection for no less than five years
from the date of the notification.
(a) On or before July 1, 2012, the commission shall open an
appropriate proceeding or expand the scope of an existing proceeding
to establish compatible emergency response standards that owners or
operators of commission-regulated gas pipeline facilities shall be
required to follow for intrastate transmission and distribution
lines. The commission shall establish the standards to ensure that
intrastate transmission and distribution lines have emergency
response plans that adequately prepare them for a natural disaster or
malfunction that could cause injury to human life or property, with
the purpose of minimizing the occurrence of both.
(b) The commission shall establish the compatible emergency
response standards in consultation with the California Emergency
Management Agency, the State Fire Marshal, and members of California'
s first responder community including, but not limited to, members of
the California Fire Chiefs Association.
(c) The compatible emergency response standards shall require
owners or operators of intrastate transmission and distribution lines
to implement emergency response plans that are compatible with the
United States Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous
Materials Safety Administration's regulations concerning emergency
plans contained in Section 192.615 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal
Regulations, and those plans shall include, but not be limited to,
all of the following requirements:
(1) Emergency shutdown and pressure reduction shall be utilized
whenever deemed necessary and appropriate by the owners or operators
to minimize hazards to life or property. An owner or operator shall
notify appropriate first responders of emergency shutdown and
(2) During an emergency response effort, the incident commander
may direct coordination between first responders and owners or
operators to ensure timely and ongoing communication on decisions for
emergency shutdown and pressure reduction.
(3) Owners or operators of intrastate transmission and
distribution lines shall establish and maintain liaison with
appropriate fire, police, and other public officials to do all of the
(A) Learn the responsibility and resources of each government
organization that may respond to a gas pipeline emergency, including,
but not limited to, the role of the incident commander in an
(B) Acquaint the officials with the owner's or operator's ability
in responding to a gas pipeline emergency.
(C) Identify the types of gas pipeline emergencies of which the
owner or operator notifies the officials.
(D) Plan how the owner or operator and officials can engage in
mutual assistance to minimize hazards to life or property.
(E) Identify and update information on individual personnel
responsible for the liaison with the appropriate first responder
(4) Owners and operators of intrastate transmission lines shall
provide the State Fire Marshal and the chief fire official of the
applicable city, county, city and county, or fire protection district
with instructions on how to access and utilize the National Pipeline
Mapping System developed by the United States Department of
Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration, utilizing data submitted pursuant to Section 60132 of
Title 49 of the United States Code, to improve local response
capabilities for pipeline emergencies.
(d) (1) The commission shall report to the Legislature on the
status of establishing the compatible emergency response standards on
or before January 1, 2013.
(2) A report to be submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be
submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
Owners and operators of intrastate transmission and
distribution lines, at least once each calendar year, shall meet with
each local fire department having fire suppression responsibilities
in the area where those lines are located to discuss and review
contingency plans for emergencies involving the intrastate
transmission and distribution lines within the jurisdiction of the
local fire department.
(a) (1) Unless the commission determines that it is prohibited
from doing so by subdivision (c) of Section 60104 of Title 49 of the
United States Code, the commission shall require the installation of
automatic shutoff or remote controlled sectionalized block valves on
both of the following facilities, if it determines those valves are
necessary for the protection of the public:
(A) Intrastate transmission lines that are located in a high
(B) Intrastate transmission lines that traverse an active seismic
(2) Each owner or operator of a commission-regulated gas pipeline
facility that is an intrastate transmission line shall provide the
commission with a valve location plan, along with any recommendations
for valve locations. The commission may make modifications to the
valve location plan or provide for variations from any location
requirements adopted by the commission pursuant to this section that
it deems necessary or appropriate and consistent with protection of
(3) The commission shall additionally establish action timelines,
adopt standards for how to prioritize installation of automatic
shutoff or remote controlled sectionalized block valves pursuant to
paragraph (1), ensure that remote and automatic shutoff valves are
installed as quickly as is reasonably possible, and establish ongoing
procedures for monitoring progress in achieving the requirements of
(b) The commission shall authorize recovery in rates for all
reasonably incurred costs incurred for implementation of the
requirements of this section.
(c) The commission, in consultation with the Pipeline and
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the United States
Department of Transportation, shall adopt and enforce compatible
safety standards for commission-regulated gas pipeline facilities
that the commission determines should be adopted to implement the
requirements of this section.
(a) Each gas corporation shall prepare and submit to the
commission a proposed comprehensive pressure testing implementation
plan for all intrastate transmission lines to either pressure test
those lines or to replace all segments of intrastate transmission
lines that were not pressure tested or that lack sufficient details
related to performance of pressure testing. The comprehensive
pressure testing implementation plan shall provide for testing or
replacing all intrastate transmission lines as soon as practicable.
The comprehensive pressure testing implementation plan shall set
forth criteria on which pipeline segments were identified for
replacement instead of pressure testing.
(b) The comprehensive pressure testing implementation plan shall
include a timeline for completion that is as soon as practicable, and
includes interim safety enhancement measures, including increased
patrols and leak surveys, pressure reductions, prioritization of
pressure testing for critical pipelines that must run at or near
maximum allowable operating pressure values that result in hoop
stress levels at or above 30 percent of specified minimum yield
stress, and any other measure that the commission determines will
enhance public safety during the implementation period.
Engineering-based assumptions may be used to determine maximum
allowable operating pressure in the absence of complete records, but
only as an interim measure until such time as all the lines have been
tested or replaced, in order to allow the gas system to continue to
(c) At the completion of the implementation period, all California
natural gas intrastate transmission line segments shall meet all of
(1) Have been pressure tested.
(2) Have traceable, verifiable, and complete records readily
(3) Where warranted, be capable of accommodating in-line
(a) Twice a year, or as determined by the commission, each
gas corporation shall file with the division of the commission
responsible for consumer protection and safety a gas transmission and
storage safety report. The division of the commission responsible
for consumer protection and safety shall review the reports to
monitor each gas corporation's storage and pipeline-related
activities to assess whether the projects that have been identified
as high risk are being carried out, and to track whether the gas
corporation is spending its allocated funds on these storage and
pipeline-related safety, reliability, and integrity activities for
which they have received approval from the commission.
(b) The gas transmission and storage safety report shall include a
thorough description and explanation of the strategic planning and
decisionmaking approach used to determine and rank the gas storage
projects, intrastate transmission line safety, integrity, and
reliability, operation and maintenance activities, and inspections of
its intrastate transmission lines. If there has been no change in
the gas corporation's approach for determining and ranking which
projects and activities are prioritized since the previous gas
transmission and storage safety report, the subsequent report may
reference the immediately preceding report.
(c) If the division of the commission responsible for consumer
protection and safety determines that there is a deficiency in a gas
corporation's prioritization or administration of the storage or
pipeline capital projects or operation and maintenance activities,
the division shall bring the problems to the commission's immediate
(a) A gas corporation shall not recover any fine or penalty in
any rate approved by the commission.
(b) Each gas corporation shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of
the commission, in its general rate case proceeding, that the
requested revenue requirements will be sufficient to enable the gas
corporation to fund those projects and activities necessary to
maintain safe and reliable service and to meet federal and state
safety requirements applicable to its gas plant, in a cost-effective
(a) When the federal National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) submits a safety recommendation letter concerning gas pipeline
safety to the commission, the commission shall provide the NTSB with
a formal written response to each recommendation not later than 90
days after receiving the letter. The response shall state one of the
(1) The commission's intent to implement the recommendations in
full, with a proposed timetable for implementation of the
(2) The commission's intent to implement part of the
recommendations, with a proposed timetable for implementation of
those recommendations, and detailed reasons for the commission's
refusal to implement those recommendations that the commission does
not intend to implement.
(3) The commission's refusal to implement the recommendations,
with detailed reasons for the commission's refusal to implement the
(b) If the NTSB issues a safety recommendation letter concerning
any commission-regulated gas pipeline facility to the United States
Department of Transportation, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous
Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a gas corporation, or the
commission, or the PHMSA issues an advisory bulletin concerning any
commission-regulated gas pipeline facility, the commission shall
determine if implementation of the recommendation or advisory is
appropriate. The basis for the commission's determination shall be
detailed in writing and shall be approved by a majority vote of the
(c) If the commission determines that a safety recommendation made
by the NTSB is appropriate or that action concerning an advisory
bulletin is necessary, the commission shall issue orders or adopt
rules to implement the safety recommendation or advisory as soon as
practicable. In implementing the safety recommendation or advisory,
the commission shall consider whether a more effective, or equally
effective and less costly, alternative exists to address the safety
issue that the recommendation or advisory addresses.
(a) For purposes of this section, "gas corporation workforce"
means the employees of a gas corporation and employees of an
independent contractor of the gas corporation while working under
contract with the gas corporation.
(b) (1) Each gas corporation shall develop a plan for the safe and
reliable operation of its commission-regulated gas pipeline facility
that implements the policy of paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of
Section 963, subject to approval, modification, and adequate funding
by the commission.
(2) By December 31, 2012, the commission shall review and accept,
modify, or reject the plan for each gas corporation as part of a
proceeding that includes a hearing. The commission shall build into
any approved plan sufficient flexibility to redirect activities to
respond to safety requirements.
(3) Each gas corporation shall implement its approved plan.
(4) The commission shall require each gas corporation to
periodically review and update the plan, and the commission shall
review and accept, modify, or reject an updated plan at regular
intervals thereafter. The commission, pursuant to Section 1701.1,
shall determine whether a proceeding on a proposed update to a plan
requires a hearing, consistent with subdivision (e).
(c) The plan developed, approved, and implemented pursuant to
subdivision (b) shall be consistent with best practices in the gas
industry and with federal pipeline safety statutes as set forth in
Chapter 601 (commencing with Section 60101) of Subtitle VIII of Title
49 of the United States Code and the regulations adopted by the
United States Department of Transportation pursuant to those
(d) The plan developed, approved, and implemented pursuant to
subdivision (b) shall set forth how the gas corporation will
implement the policy established in paragraph (3) of subdivision (b)
of Section 963 and achieve each of the following:
(1) Identify and minimize hazards and systemic risks in order to
minimize accidents, explosions, fires, and dangerous conditions, and
protect the public and the gas corporation workforce.
(2) Identify the safety-related systems that will be deployed to
minimize hazards, including adequate documentation of the
commission-regulated gas pipeline facility history and capability.
(3) Provide adequate storage and transportation capacity to
reliably and safely deliver gas to all customers consistent with
rules authorized by the commission governing core and noncore
reliability and curtailment, including provisions for expansion,
replacement, preventive maintenance, and reactive maintenance and
repair of its commission-regulated gas pipeline facility.
(4) Provide for effective patrol and inspection of the
commission-regulated gas pipeline facility to detect leaks and other
compromised facility conditions and to effect timely repairs.
(5) Provide for appropriate and effective system controls, with
respect to both equipment and personnel procedures, to limit the
damage from accidents, explosions, fires, and dangerous conditions.
(6) Provide timely response to customer and employee reports of
leaks and other hazardous conditions and emergency events, including
disconnection, reconnection, and pilot-lighting procedures.
(7) Include appropriate protocols for determining maximum
allowable operating pressures on relevant pipeline segments,
including all necessary documentation affecting the calculation of
maximum allowable operating pressures.
(8) Prepare for, or minimize damage from, and respond to,
earthquakes and other major events.
(9) Meet or exceed the minimum standards for safe design,
construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of gas
transmission and distribution facilities prescribed by regulations
issued by the United States Department of Transportation in Part 192
(commencing with Section 192.1) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal
(10) Ensure an adequately sized, qualified, and properly trained
gas corporation workforce to carry out the plan.
(11) Any additional matter that the commission determines should
be included in the plan.
(e) The commission and gas corporation shall provide opportunities
for meaningful, substantial, and ongoing participation by the gas
corporation workforce in the development and implementation of the
plan, with the objective of developing an industrywide culture of
safety that will minimize accidents, explosions, fires, and dangerous
conditions for the protection of the public and the gas corporation
(f) Nothing in this section limits the obligation of a gas
corporation to provide adequate service and facilities for the
convenience of the public and its employees pursuant to Section 451
or the authority of the commission to enforce that obligation under
(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the
(1) "After-meter services" includes, but is not limited to, leak
investigation, inspecting customer piping and appliances, carbon
monoxide investigation, pilot relighting, and high bill
(2) "Basic gas service" includes transmission, storage for
reliability of service, and distribution of natural gas, purchasing
natural gas on behalf of a customer, revenue cycle services, and
(3) "Metering services" includes, but is not limited to, gas meter
installation, meter maintenance, meter testing, collecting and
processing consumption data, and all related services associated with
(4) "Revenue cycle services" means metering services, billing the
customer, collection, and related customer services.
(b) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) In order to ensure that all core customers of a gas
corporation continue to receive safe basic gas service, each existing
gas corporation shall continue to provide this essential service.
(2) A customer shall not be required to pay separate fees for
utilizing services that protect public or customer safety.
(3) It is the policy of the state that the commission and each gas
corporation place safety of the public and gas corporation employees
as the top priority. The commission shall take all reasonable and
appropriate actions necessary to carry out the safety priority policy
of this paragraph consistent with the principle of just and
reasonable cost-based rates.
(c) (1) The commission shall require each gas corporation to
provide bundled basic gas service to all core customers in its
service territory unless the customer chooses or contracts to have
natural gas purchased and supplied by another entity.
(2) A gas corporation shall continue to be the exclusive provider
of revenue cycle services to all customers in its service territory,
except that an entity purchasing and supplying natural gas under the
commission's existing core aggregation program may perform billing
and collection services for its customers under the same terms as
currently authorized by the commission, and except that a supplier of
natural gas to noncore customers may perform billing and collection
for natural gas supply for its customers.
(3) The gas corporation shall continue to calculate its charges
for services provided by that corporation. If the commission
establishes credits to be provided by the gas corporation to core
aggregation or noncore customers who obtain billing or collection
services from entities other than the gas corporation, the credit
shall be equal to the billing and collection services costs actually
avoided by the gas corporation.
(4) The commission shall require the distribution rate to continue
to include after-meter services and shall authorize sufficient
revenues and employee staffing to provide for prompt provision of
these services to the public, consistent with the policy developed
and implemented by the gas corporation and approved by the commission
pursuant to Section 961.
In any ratemaking proceeding in which the commission
authorizes a gas corporation to recover expenses for the gas
corporation's transmission pipeline integrity management program
established pursuant to Subpart O (commencing with Section 192.901)
of Part 192 of Title 49 of the United States Code or related capital
expenditures for the maintenance and repair of transmission
pipelines, the commission shall require the gas corporation to
establish and maintain a balancing account for the recovery of those
expenses. Any unspent moneys in the balancing account in the form of
an accumulated account balance at the end of each rate case cycle,
plus interest, shall be returned to ratepayers through a true-up
filing. Nothing in this section is intended to interfere with the
commission's discretion to establish a two-way balancing account.
(a) The commission shall perform an analysis of benchmark data
and adopt safety performance metrics for pipeline safety.
(b) The commission shall consider the following principles when
adopting safety performance metrics:
(1) Each safety performance metric shall be designed to be an
indicator of safety performance.
(2) Each safety performance metric shall be designed so that it
may be reevaluated within a useful timeframe.
(3) Each safety performance metric shall be designed so that the
data inputs to the metric are verifiable.
(4) The adopted set of safety performance metrics shall be robust
enough to serve as a useful indicator of pipeline safety.
(c) The commission shall evaluate a gas corporation's safety
performance using the safety performance metrics adopted pursuant to
subdivision (a) and may implement a rate incentive program. The rate
incentive program may contain penalties based on safety performance.