HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1097        FILED ON: 1/15/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2901

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Frank A. Moran

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act for field safety in gas infrastructure.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Frank A. Moran

17th Essex

Barry R. Finegold

Second Essex and Middlesex

Smitty Pignatelli

4th Berkshire

Daniel Cahill

10th Essex

Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex

Carlos González

10th Hampden

Danielle W. Gregoire

4th Middlesex

Ruth B. Balser

12th Middlesex

Christina A. Minicucci

14th Essex

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

Tram T. Nguyen

18th Essex

Jeffrey N. Roy

10th Norfolk

Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex

Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex

Daniel M. Donahue

16th Worcester

Colleen M. Garry

36th Middlesex

Bud L. Williams

11th Hampden

James M. Murphy

4th Norfolk

Diana DiZoglio

First Essex

Michael O. Moore

Second Worcester

Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk

Linda Dean Campbell

15th Essex

Denise C. Garlick

13th Norfolk

Jon Santiago

9th Suffolk

Patrick M. O'Connor

Plymouth and Norfolk

Joseph A. Boncore

First Suffolk and Middlesex

Bruce J. Ayers

1st Norfolk

David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf

17th Worcester

Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex

David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex

Marc R. Pacheco

First Plymouth and Bristol

Stephan Hay

3rd Worcester

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

James K. Hawkins

2nd Bristol

David Biele

4th Suffolk

Daniel J. Ryan

2nd Suffolk


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1097        FILED ON: 1/15/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 2901

By Mr. Moran of Lawrence, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 2901) of Frank A. Moran and others for legislation to provide for field safety in gas infrastructure by requiring that the Department of Public Utilities promulgate regulations establishing requirements for the maintenance, timely updating, accuracy, and security of gas LDC maps and records.  Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court
(2019-2020)

_______________

 

An Act for field safety in gas infrastructure.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

SECTION __: Chapter 164 of the General Laws is hereby amended by amending section 144, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, in the following manner:

The DPU shall promulgate regulations establishing requirements for the maintenance, timely updating, accuracy, and security of gas LDC maps and records.  Such regulations shall be promulgated and implemented no later than January 1, 2021.

To ensure sufficient local staff to oversee gas infrastructure and direct emergency response in the event of an emergency:

SECTION __: Chapter 164 of the General Laws is hereby amended by amending section 144, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, in the following manner:

Each LDC shall maintain a central control room within its service territory with trained staff sufficient to monitor its pipeline and respond to fluctuations in pressurization, reportable incidents, and infrastructure failures.

To improve field access to electronic maps and records critical to LDC operations and construction:

SECTION __: Chapter 164 of the General Laws is hereby amended by amending section 144, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, in the following manner:

Each LDC shall report each disruption in its ability to provide electronic data, including but not limited to, maps and records relevant to inspections, maintenance, repairs, and construction to its in-house workforce and contractors lasting more than 30 minutes.  Each 30 minute disruption shall be the subject of a separate report.

Disruptions in the provision of electronic data to field personnel and field contractors will be incorporated as a metric in the DPU’s service quality indicators for LDCs.

To improve recordkeeping and remediation of gas leaks throughout the Commonwealth:

SECTION __: Chapter 164 of the General Laws is hereby amended by amending section 144, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, in the following manner:

(a)There shall be uniform natural gas leaks classification for all gas companies.

(b)(1) Gas companies shall assess a grade to all reported natural gas leaks based on the system provided in this section.

(2) A Grade 1 leak shall be a leak that represents an existing or probable hazard to persons or property. Grade 1 leaks require repair immediately and continuous action until the conditions are no longer hazardous. Upon identifying a Grade 1 leak, the gas company shall immediately schedule repairs, which shall continue until completed, and the location of the existing or probably hazard shall be kept under continuous surveillance until the hazard or source of the leak is permanently eliminated. Whenever appropriate and feasible, a gas company shall notify the fire department and chief law enforcement officer in each city or town where a Grade 1 leak is identified.

(3) A Grade 2 leak shall be a leak that is recognized as non-hazardous to persons or property at the time of detection, but justifies scheduled repair based on probable future hazard. The gas company shall repair Grade 2 leaks or replace the main or service within 6 months from the date the leak was classified. All Grade 2 leaks shall be reevaluated by a gas company at least once every 3 months until eliminated permanently; provided, however, that the frequency of reevaluation shall be determined by the location and magnitude of the leakage condition.

(4) A Grade 3 leak shall be a leak that is recognized as non-hazardous to persons or property at the time of detection and can be reasonably expected to remain non-hazardous. The gas company shall reevaluate Grade 3 leaks during the next scheduled survey, or within 6 months from the date last evaluated, whichever occurs first, until the leak is eliminated or the main is replaced. A municipal or state public safety official may request a reevaluation of a Grade 3 leak prior to the next scheduled survey, or sooner than 6 months of the date last evaluated, if the official reasonably believes that the Grade 3 leak poses a threat to public safety.

Each LDC will maintain an accurate and timely record of any Grade 3 leaks that, upon re-inspection, are upgraded to a Grade 1 or 2 leak.  The DPU shall establish a service quality metric for the same, and each LDC will report any upgrades of Grade 3 leaks to the DPU on a monthly basis.

Upon the undertaking of a significant project on a public way exposing confirmed natural gas infrastructure, and with sufficient notice, a municipality or the commonwealth shall submit written notification of the project to a gas company. The gas company shall survey the project area for the presence of Grade 1 or Grade 2 leaks and grade 3 leaks identified as having a significant environmental impact and set repair and replacement schedules for all known or newly detected Grade 1 or Grade 2 leaks and grade 3 leaks identified as having a significant environmental impact. The gas company shall ensure that any shut off valve in the significant project area has a gate box installed upon it or a reasonable alternative that would otherwise ensure continued public safety and that any critical valve that has not been inspected and tested within the past 12 months is verified to be operational and accessible. The gas company shall provide the repair and replacement schedule of gas leaks to the municipality or the commonwealth.

Additionally, as a condition of receiving Chapter 90 funding for any project on a public way, a gas LDC shall undertake an inspection of the areas surrounding the gas infrastructure through a mobile survey to determine whether any gas leaks exist prior to embarking on the road project.

(d) Gas companies shall prioritize any pipeline repairs required under this section for gas leaks detected within a school zone. For the purposes of this section, “school zone” shall mean on or within 50 feet of the real property comprising a public or private accredited preschool, accredited Head Start facility, elementary, vocational or secondary school.

(e) As part of the annual service quality standards report required by section 1I, each gas company shall report to the department the location of each Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 leak existing as of the date of the report, the date each Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 leak was classified and the dates of repairs performed on each Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 leak. A gas company shall specify any reclassification of previously identified leaks in its annual report. Gas leak information shall be made available to any municipal or state public safety official upon written request to the department.

(f) The department shall promulgate regulations necessary to implement the uniform natural gas leak classifications as specified in this section and shall oversee and monitor company response and reporting.

To improve the safety and service quality for consumers with inside meters:

SECTION _: Chapter 164 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 115A, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, the following section:

§ 115B. Inspection and Repair of Piping Adjacent to Inside Meter

The DPU shall promulgate regulations establishing: (1) inspection and reporting requirements for the inspection of pipe, including both the gas LDC’s service line connected to an inside meter from the pipeline, and (2) notice to occupants of the inspection process and any findings resulting therefrom, and (3) repair/replacement requirements when a hazard is discovered. 

Any LDC service connected to an inside meter over 30 years old shall be scheduled for replacement concurrent with any scheduled or unscheduled visit to the structure housing the inside meter.

The DPU shall approve the implementation of these requirements, as memorialized in each gas LDC’s Operations and Maintenance Manual and receive annual reports concerning the implementation of this section from each gas LDC.  

To ensure that contracting out or insourcing by a gas company of work customarily performed by gas company employees is with undertaken with competent and qualified contractors:

The Department shall issues rules to establish rules and regulation by which the qualifications of contractors shall be evaluated.

Contractors who wish to be eligible to receive contracts with a gas company to perform gas work shall be required to register and provide all required documentation to meet certification requirements with the DPU on an annual basis.

When a gas company seeks to outsource work customarily performed by gas company employees and valued at an amount in excess of $20,000 to a registered contractor, the company shall report to DPU the reason the work is being outsourced; the cost of the contract being outsourced; the contractor with whom the company is contracting; and, the qualifications of said contractor. An agent of the Company will provide a signed certification attesting to the same.

For contractors hired to provide field services, the Company will also submit a plan to DPU designating the number in-house staff and their job classifications assigned to oversee each contractor(s) work each month and will provide a monthly report documenting the number of visits by in-house staff and the locations visited to oversee contractor work. An agent of the Company will certify compliance with this plan as part of the Company’s monthly reporting requirements.

When the outsourcing is due to insufficient staffing, the gas company shall submit a plan for hiring additional staff to address the staffing shortage.

No construction, reconstruction, installation, alteration, repair or mapping of critical infrastructure shall be outsourced to a contractor outside of the United States.

To ensure safety and transparency in pipeline repair:

Section 1. Chapter 149 as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting a new Section, 27J:             

All construction, reconstruction installation, alteration or repair not performed by gas or electric public utility employees on public infrastructure shall be performed and procured under this section of chapter 149, and section 39M of chapter 30.

No agreement, order, or requisition for labor or services on public infrastructure owned or overseen by the commonwealth or by a county, city, town or district, shall be entered into or given by any public official or public body unless said agreement, order or requisition contains a stipulation requiring prescribed rates of wages, as determined by the commissioner, to be paid to individuals performing construction, reconstruction installation, alteration or repair on public infrastructure who are not gas or electric utility workers.  

Any such agreement, order or requisition which does not contain said stipulation shall be invalid, and no payment shall be made thereunder. Said rates of wages shall be requested of said commissioner by said public official or public body together with the gas and electric public utility on whose service territory the public infrastructure lies, and shall be furnished by the commissioner in a schedule containing the classifications of jobs, and the rate of wages to be paid for each job. Said rates of wages shall include payments to health and welfare plans, or, if no such plan is in effect between employers and employees, the amount of such payments shall be paid directly to said employees. Such requests for rates shall be made every six (6) months. 

Whoever pays less than said rates of wages, including payments to health and welfare funds, or the equivalent in wages, on said works, and whoever accepts for his own use, or for the use of any other person, as a rebate, gratuity or in any other guise, any part or portion of said wages or health and welfare funds, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C.

An employee claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of this section may, 90 days after the filing of a complaint with the attorney general, or sooner if the attorney general assents in writing, and within 3 years after the violation, institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for any lost wages and other benefits. An employee so aggrieved who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for any lost wages and other benefits and shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys' fees.

The Department, under chapter 30A and in consultation with gas and electric utilities, shall promulgate rules and regulations for the training and implementation of a certification program for contractors and their employees repairing or performing work on gas infrastructure in the commonwealth.

To ensure the safety of residents, first responders, and gas workers

Section 144 of Chapter 164 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (c) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-

(c)(1) Upon the undertaking of a significant project on a public way exposing confirmed natural gas infrastructure, and with sufficient notice, a municipality or the commonwealth shall submit written notification of the project to a gas company. The gas company shall survey the project area for the presence of Grade 1 or Grade 2 leaks and set repair and replacement schedules for all known or newly detected Grade 1 or Grade 2 leaks. The gas company shall ensure that any shut off valve in the significant project area has a gate box installed upon it or a reasonable alternative that would otherwise ensure continued public safety and that any critical valve that has not been inspected and tested within the past 12 months is verified to be operational and accessible. The gas company shall provide the repair and replacement schedule of gas leaks to the municipality or the commonwealth.

(2) Upon the undertaking of any planned project involving excavation for purposes of performing maintenance on or construction involving any gas mains or services by gas company employees, or any blasting work, the gas company shall ensure that its employees first locate and identify and mark all gas gates and valves, and verify that all are cleared, operational and accessible in clear sight at ground level in advance of any excavation; and that said gas gates and valves are left cleared, and operational following any such project.

(3) The gas company shall ensure that any shut off valve in the significant project area has a gate box installed upon it by its employees to ensure continued public safety.

(4) The gas company shall provide the municipality or the commonwealth with written confirmation that the gas gates and valves have been cleared, inspected and tested by its employees and found to be capable of accepting a gate key; and, shall provide the municipality or commonwealth with undated, correct information if the location of gates or valves is determined to have been previously improperly located.

(5) Failure to undertake verification that gas gates and valves have been cleared, and are both operational and accessible prior to the start of and following an excavation, or blasting work, shall be subject to a fine of up to $10,000. Failure to submit written confirmation of such verification shall be subject to a fine of $200 per day.