With its continuing concern about pipeline safety due to aging infrastructure, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) today approved new customer surcharges for the previously approved Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program (GRIP) for Florida Public Utilities Company (FPUC), FPUC-Fort Meade (Fort Meade), and the Florida Division of Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (Chesapeake).
“The PSC is committed to ensuring that Florida’s natural gas utilities’ pipeline infrastructure is safe and reliable,” said PSC Chairman Julie Brown. “Through GRIP, the PSC can carefully review replacement program investment to protect consumers and also make sure the utilities' proposed surcharges are in the public interest.”
While the U.S. Department of Transportation has urged natural gas utilities to replace older facilities as a safety measure, the PSC has approved GRIP programs to help accelerate the replacement of bare steel pipeline, which is susceptible to erosion, with polyethylene (plastic) pipeline. FPUC, Fort Meade, and Chesapeake replacement projects have occurred in West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Deland, Debary, Winter Haven, Haines City, Auburndale, Lake Wales, Palm Beach, and North Palm Beach.
In 2012, the PSC approved a joint petition filed by FPUC and Chesapeake for their current GRIP program. Last year, when both companies’ annual GRIP surcharges were reviewed and approved, the Commission also approved Fort Meade’s GRIP program.An annual mechanism to track savings in operations and maintenance expense and depreciation is required for the pipeline improvement program.
For additional information on the current GRIP program, please visit www.floridapsc.com.
Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.