PHMSA Issues Excess Flow Valve Rule
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced that on October 7 it
sent to the Federal Register a final rule mandating installation of excess flow valves (EFV) on new and
replaced service lines to multifamily residential and small commercial customers. APGA has reviewed
the final rule and finds that PHMSA has addressed most of the concerns raised in APGA’s written
comments on the July 15, 2015 proposed rule and the recommendations of PHMSA’s technical advisory
committee from its December 17, 2015 conference call.
Utilities will be required to install an EFV on new and replaced service lines to multifamily residential and
commercial customers if the meter capacity on the service line is 1,000 cubic feet per hour (cfh) or less.
A manually-operated curb valve must be installed if the meter capacity on the service exceeds 1,000 cfh.
An EFV is not required if a service line does not operate at a pressure of 10 psig or greater throughout
the year; the operator 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 or could interfere with necessary
operation or maintenance activities, such as blowing liquids from the line.
The rule will also require utilities to provide written or electronic notification to customers of their right
to request the installation of an EFV. Electronic notification can include emails, website postings, and ebilling
notices. Written notice can include bill stuffers. The notification must include an explanation of
the potential safety benefits that may be derived from installing an EFV and a description of EFV
installation and replacement costs. If a customer requests to have an EFV installed the utility must install
an EFV at a mutually agreeable date.
APGA is pleased that PHMSA elected to limit EFVs to services of 1,000 cfh or less. There is little
experience with larger EFVs, however PHMSA did adopt APGA’s recommendation that if a utility elects
to install an EFV on a service line over 1,000 cfh, it should not also have to install a curb valve. PHMSA
also removed wording in the proposed rule mandating that curb valves be accessible to emergency
responders. Some members train and equip emergency responders to close curb valves but many
members do not allow anyone except utility personnel to operate underground valves. The final rule
allows each utility to determine who is authorized to operate curb valves installed under this rule.
The rule will take effect 60 days after it appears in the Federal Register, meaning utilities have until midApril
2017 to begin installing EFVs and curb valves and notifying existing customers about the availability
of EFVs. Members should begin planning now to modify procedures to begin installing these larger EFVs
and curb valves on affected service lines. The requirements of the rule and how members will comply
will be addressed in a presentation followed by two parallel breakout sessions at the APGA Operations
Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn., this November 8-10. The APGA Operations and Safety Committee
has also formed a task group to develop sample EFV customer notification notices that members can
consider when developing their own notifications.
A copy of the rule can be found here. For questions on this article, please contact John Erickson of APGA
staff by phone at 202-464-0834 or by email at email@example.com.
APGA Will Participate in DOE Public Meeting on Furnace SNOPR
On October 17, the Department of Energy (DOE) will hold a public meeting on the furnace Supplemental
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNOPR). DOE is proposing a residential furnace nationwide mandate of
92 AFUE with a small furnace exemption for furnaces of 55,000 Btu or less. Furnaces under the small
furnace exemption would be allowed to be non-condensing; while all furnaces above that threshold
would have to be condensing. The rule would go into effect five years after the rule is finalized. Because
of the difference in combustion technology, condensing furnaces have additional venting requirements
associated that add significant dollars to the cost of installation. APGA has maintained that the
additional venting requirements associated with replacing a non-condensing natural gas furnace with a
condensing furnace will push many residential customers—particularly those in warmer climates—to
purchase and install less efficient home heating alternatives with potentially higher greenhouse gas
emissions and higher monthly utility bills.
At the meeting, APGA will make an opening statement in which we will communicate that the proposed
rule will cause uneconomic fuel switching as many consumers—especially but not exclusively in
southern states—will be compelled to abandon their natural gas furnaces for less expensive and less
efficient electric alternatives. APGA will also communicate that the SNOPR will compel consumers to
make uneconomic choices that will hurt low and fixed-income families, homeowners in the south, and
many who live in condos or rowhomes in all sections of the country. APGA will also state that based
upon our initial review of the latest technical support data that DOE has utilized to support its most
recent SNOPR proposal, DOE continues to rely upon faulty analytics and assumptions in key areas to
support a national standard for residential furnaces.
A copy of the statement that APGA will make at the public meeting is available on the APGA website.
Comments on the furnace SNOPR are currently due on November 22 but APGA and the American Gas
Association have asked for a 30-day extension of the comment period. For questions on this article,
please contact Dave Schryver of APGA’s staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at
APGA RF and GTI Host Successful Fall Forum
The APGA Research Foundation (RF) and Gas Technology Institute (GTI) hosted the seventh annual Fall
Forum at GTI’s headquarters in Des Plaines, Ill., on October 6 and 7. This year’s forum included 12
attendees from seven different systems.
Over the two-day forum, attendees received classroom instruction and tours of GTI’s research and
development (R&D) facilities. The first day gave attendees a broad overview of GTI’s history, structure
and function, before moving onto longer presentations on the Utilization Technology Development
(UTD) consortium. The group heard presentations and discussed projects in emerging technologies such
as rooftop units, gas heat pumps, and many other critical new end use natural gas technologies. Day one
concluded with a tour of the labs dedicated to end use.
Day two began with classroom discussions and presentations on the Operations Technology
Development (OTD) consortium. Attendees discussed new pipeline technologies, mapping software,
damage prevention technologies, and many others. The day concluded with a tour of the OTD portions
of GTI’s labs. The APGA RF would like to thank members for attending the forum and to GTI for putting
together a very informative and enjoyable program.
For questions on this article, please contact Scott Morrison of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or
by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign Open Letter to Increase in Fiscal Year 2017 LIHEAP Funding
APGA is requesting that member systems sign on to an open letter (copy included below) to
congressional appropriations committees from the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition
(NEUAC), which requests an increase in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for
fiscal year 2017. Please note that APGA has already signed this letter. NEUAC is the result of a 2013
merger between the National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) and the National Low Income Energy
Consortium (NLIEC). The deadline to sign the letter is October 31, 2016.
The fiscal year 2016 LIHEAP funds amounted to $3.39 billion, and have been fully released as of October
1. This level of funding will be maintained through December 9, 2016 as part of Continuing Resolution
legislation. This joint letter requests funding for fiscal year 2017 at $4.7 billion in light of the continuing
need for home heating and cooling assistance. Though this is still below the APGA-supported funding
level of $5.1 billion for LIHEAP, it is a step in the right direction to restoring funding to its 2009 level. At
this time the House Committee on Labor, Health and Human Services has appropriated $3.49 billion
toward fiscal year 2017 LIHEAP while the Senate committee has appropriated $3.39 billion. We
anticipate a final number will be agreed on in the lame duck session following the election.
Your system can find and sign the letter here. You will find a web form that will walk you through the
process. The letter text can be found below and please note that you can contact email@example.com to
list multiple states or cities so you can be recognized across your service territory. For questions on this
article, please contact Todd Brady of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at
An Open Letter to Congressional Appropriations Committees to
Increase Funding for LIHEAP to At Least $4.7 Billion in FY2017
Dear House and Senate Appropriators:
We are writing to urge you to increase funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
(LIHEAP) in FY2017. Sufficiently funded, LIHEAP serves a vital, life-saving role protecting millions of
families from America’s cold winters and hot summers. A FY2017 appropriation of at least $4.7 billion is
necessary if this program is to continue to allow states and their charitable partners to serve the
growing need of America’s most vulnerable households.
LIHEAP is an efficient, effective program. It helps your most vulnerable constituents, including the
elderly – many of whom are on fixed incomes – the unemployed, families with young children, and the
disabled. In FY 2015, 72% of the 6.8 million households receiving LIHEAP assistance had at least one
member who was either elderly, disabled, or had a child under the age of five. According to a 2011 study
by the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, fully 20 percent of LIHEAP households (1.78
million) contain veterans.
LIHEAP is not an entitlement and does not receive increased funding as need increases. Congress must
appropriate funding annually. While states set eligibility guidelines, federal statute sets the income
maximum at 150 percent of the federal poverty guideline or 60 percent of the state’s median income.
(For FY2016, 150% of the federal poverty guideline for a family of three is $30,035.) Most LIHEAP
recipients fall well below the maximum thresholds and many LIHEAP-eligible households fail to receive
any assistance because of insufficient funds.
In 2014, the national poverty rate was 14.8 percent and 46.7 million Americans lived in poverty,
according to U.S. Census data. Though the economy is improving, the need for a program like LIHEAP
persists. Between FY2009 and FY2016, LIHEAP’s appropriation was cut by more than one-third. Because
of these cuts, states have been forced to reduce the number of households served, cut benefits, or both.
We believe these reductions are too much.
We respectfully ask you to substantially restore LIHEAP funding in FY2017. While an appropriation of at
least $4.7 billion is not enough to meet the full needs of vulnerable households, the program is much
more effective at higher funding levels, and LIHEAP truly becomes a national program serving at-risk
households in all regions of the country.
We know that Congress has made and will continue to make difficult budget decisions – but reducing
LIHEAP funding is not the answer. We urge you to restore LIHEAP funding to at least $4.7 billion in
EIA Reports Storage Increase of 79 Bcf to Put Working Gas Storage at 3,759 Bcf
Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, October 13, 2016, which reports the week’s
storage report highlights for Friday, October 7, 2016. A 79 Bcf increase has been reported.
Working gas in storage was 3,759 Bcf as of Friday, October 7, 2016, according to EIA estimates. This
represents a net increase of 79 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 56 Bcf higher than last year at
this time and 192 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,567 Bcf. At 3,759 Bcf, total working gas is above
the five-year historical range.