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Pipeline Safety

Did you know natural gas pipelines are the safest energy transportation system in the United States? We are committed to making them even safer.
The American Petroleum Institute's
Safety Management System

In 2017 we integrated the industry-leading standards set by the American Petroleum Institute (API1173) into our existing programs and standards to form a single, umbrella framework providing a disciplined and formal method to manage pipeline safety risks and compliance issues.

In accordance with federal regulations, some segments along transmission pipelines have been designated as High Consequence Areas (HCAs) and supplemental hazard assessment and prevention programs (called Integrity Management Programs) have been developed.

Rhode Island Energy is guided by an Integrity Management Program (IMP), which has been developed in accordance with rules established by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and local state regulatory agencies, which govern the program. The IMP was developed through the cooperation of industry experts, from both within and outside of Rhode Island Energy, and meets or exceeds all federal requirements. The primary goal is to continuously improve safety by identifying, assessing, and managing risks to natural gas pipelines.

At Rhode Island Energy, we are committed to the safe operation of all of our natural gas facilities, including pipelines.  We:

  • Built upon our already extensive integrity management programs to meet or exceed new federal IMP regulations. 
  • Identified pipelines in the IMP to federal and state regulators. 
  • Use the best technologies available to continually assess pipeline integrity through leakage surveys, monitoring of our corrosion prevention technologies and other such programs. 
  • Use up to three different assessment methods to assure that we identify any areas of concern, which are prioritized and managed according to established and approved engineering practices. 
  • Use damage prevention methods that include ongoing patrols, construction inspection, periodic reassessments and active participation in state-wide damage prevention programs. 
  • Use communications plans that have been developed to inform and educate the public, emergency responders and other officials about gas pipelines, their safety and integrity and how all parties can contribute to even greater gas pipeline safety.

The person completing the inspection will:

1. Gain access and visually inspect the jurisdictional piping (see diagram)

2. Use a calibrated gas Instrument to detect if there any leaks

Piping Diagram

Local Distribution Companies are now obligated to perform periodic leak surveys and visual atmospheric corrosion inspections in accordance with federal and state code requirements.

Yes, these inspections are required by the Rhode Island State Public Utilities Commission (RIPUC). Per the RIPUC:

Buildings may be entered for the examination of meters, pipes, fittings, wires and works.
(a) Any officer or agent of any gas corporation, electric corporation or municipality for that purpose duly appointed and authorized by the corporation, upon exhibiting a photo-identification badge and a written authority signed by the president or vice-president and secretary or assistant secretary of the corporation, or by the mayor or clerk of a municipal corporation or by the chairman and secretary of a municipal board in control of a public utility, may enter, at all reasonable times, any store, building, room or place supplied with gas, electricity or water by such utility corporation or municipality for the purpose of inspecting and examining the meters, pipes, fittings, wires and works for supplying or regulating the supply of gas or electricity and of ascertaining the quantity of gas or electricity supplied.
(b) If any person, at any time, directly or indirectly, shall prevent or hinder any such officer or agent from so entering any such premises, or from making any such inspection or examination at any reasonable time, he or she shall forfeit to the corporation or municipality one hundred dollars for every such offense.

If the condition was caused naturally to company equipment then Rhode Island Energy will make repairs at no charge to the customer.

The gradual destruction or alteration of a metal or alloy by contact with substances presents in the atmosphere, such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and sulfur and chlorine compounds. Here is what it may look like:

Field Examples of Atmospheric Corrosion
Field Examples of Atmospheric Corrosion

Excess Flow Valve Notification

Customers may request the installation of an excess flow valve (EFV), a safety device that slows the flow of natural gas in the event of a service line break, at no cost. An EFV is not required for normal operation of your gas line. In fact, you may already have an EFV installed. Certain conditions must exist for this installation. For more information, please email or call 1-855-RIE-1106 (1-855-743-1106).

Federal regulation 49 C.F.R. §192.383(d) regarding gas pipeline safety requires Rhode Island Energy to notify customers of their right to request installation of an Excess Flow Valve (EFV) on their existing gas service line under certain circumstances. An EFV is a mechanical safety device installed inside a gas service line between the gas main in the street and the gas meter. The EFV is designed to minimize the flow of natural gas in the event of a service line break. A potential benefit is, in the event that an excavator accidentally digs up the gas service line, the valve would operate to minimize or shut off the flow of gas.

If the customer’s service line operates at a pressure of less than 10 pounds per square inch gauge throughout the year, the customer’s service line is exempt from EFV installation.

Customers with loads of 1,000 standard cubic feet of gas per hour (“SCFH”) or less are eligible for an EFV unless one or more of the following conditions exist: (1) the customer’s service line operates at a pressure of less than 10 pounds per square inch gauge throughout the year, (2) the gas company has prior experience with contaminants in the gas stream that could interfere with the EFV’s operation or cause loss of service to a customer; (3) there is potential for interference with necessary operation or maintenance activities, such as blowing liquids from the line; or (4) an EFV meeting the performance standards set forth in the federal regulations is not commercially available to the gas company.

EFVs do not operate on all gas service lines and certain parameters may exist where installation of an EFV is not warranted. Many customers already have an EFV installed on their existing service line. If you would like to determine if you are eligible to have an EFV installed on your gas service line, please email or call 1-855-RIE-1106 (1-855-743-1106).