News Release      
  For Immediate Release | 1-17-18      
  Media Contact | Holly Ward      
  Direct | 602-542-3847      
  E-Mail | hward@azcc.gov      
         
 
First Master Meter Workshop Explores Safety, Health Risk
 
 

PHOENIX — Commissioner Boyd Dunn led today’s first gas master meter workshop to look into the health and safety risks posed by these pipeline systems. Master meters serve as a mechanism to distribute natural gas into two or more buildings. In Arizona, this type of gas distribution system is commonly used in apartment buildings, mobile home parks, hotels, schools, and office buildings.

“As these systems continue to age, property owners are discovering leaks which cause an entire site to shut down,” said Dennis Randolph, pipeline safety supervisor for the Arizona Corporation Commission. “This can leave hundreds of people out of heating, cooling and the ability to store and cook food.”

Randolph presented to commissioners during today’s workshop. He outlined the effect a full-site shut down has on residents and property owners noting repairs can take days and even weeks, leaving residents and businesses without hot water and gas.

Many Arizona businesses and residents are served by nearly 1,000 gas master meters. Those meters connect more than 17,000 individual service lines, over 430 miles of pipe, that link to customers including residences, businesses, and schools.

During today’s workshop, Randolph noted the problem with these systems is aging equipment and, in many cases, property owners are small business owners without the financial capital to make necessary, costly repairs.

Commissioner Dunn noted the reason for the workshop was exploratory in nature. “The point of today’s workshop is to receive comment and input from the individuals and businesses operating these systems,” said Commissioner Dunn. “We have as many questions as you do and this is a topic we want to have fully vetted.”

Other presenters during today’s workshop included local utility companies Southwest Gas, Unisource Energy Service, and the City of Mesa who offered insight into managing master meter systems. Commissioners listened to passionate input from small business owners looking for a solution to their challenges of operating an aging system.

“I appreciate the fact that the ACC will start to listen to the little guy,” said Maggie Kohanek, small business owner impacted by master meter regulation. “Of course, it’s about the financial impact. We can’t afford thousands of dollars to put in a whole new system.”

Darrell Pierce addressed the commissioners to explain his perspective, “I’ve worked as a union pipe welder and have been putting in gas pipelines for a very long time,” he said. “The piping underground is corroding, it’s gone bad. We need a utility like Southwest Gas to come in and run it to the buildings. And we need help paying for it.”

Commissioner Dunn encouraged members of the public to file their comments to the Corporation Commission’s online docket at http://edocket.azcc.gov under Docket No. G-00000C-17-0284.

The entire broadcast of today’s workshop may be found on the Corporation Commission’s website http://azcc.gov/livebroadcast under the Archived Videos, Workshops tab. You may view all documents related to the inquiry into the health and safety risks of master meters in the online docket http://edocket.azcc.gov under Docket No. G-00000C-17-0284.

 

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About us:
The Arizona Corporation Commission was established by the state’s constitution to regulate public utilities and business incorporation. The five Commissioners elected to the Corporation Commission oversee executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings on behalf of Arizonans when it comes to their water, electricity, telephone, and natural gas resources as well as the regulation of securities, pipeline, and railroad safety. To learn more about the Arizona Corporation Commission and its Commissioners, visit http://azcc.gov.