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Aging infrastructure? Where’s it a problem and what’s the fix?. New England Gas Workers Association Mark McDonald President . Problem Here?. 3 Feet. 10% LEL. The Problem?. Treatment of “non-hazardous” gas leaks A “numbness” of gas leaks Drastically reduced staffing levels

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aging infrastructure where s it a problem and what s the fix

Aging infrastructure? Where’s it a problem and what’s the fix?

New England Gas Workers Association

Mark McDonald

President

slide2

ProblemHere?

3 Feet

10% LEL

10/23/2011 6:20 PM

the problem
The Problem?
  • Treatment of “non-hazardous” gas leaks
  • A “numbness” of gas leaks
  • Drastically reduced staffing levels
  • Predicting the unpredictable
  • A “blind eye” approach to the solution
treatment of non hazardous leaks
Treatment of “Non-Hazardous” Leaks
  • They get worse over time.
  • Many leaks left unrepaired for decades!
  • Many costs associated with maintaining:
    • Annual re-checks
    • Repeat response to odor complaints
    • Hundreds of millions lost annually across U.S.
    • Greenhouse gas (GHG) damage to our environment
ghg facts
GHG Facts
  • Methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 Carbon Dioxide
  • Fugitive methane takes 12 years to dissipate, versus between 50 and 200 years for CO2.
  • Methane has increased by 150 percent since the mid-1700s; while CO2 has risen by "just" 35 percent.
  • In 2009: Distribution pipeline leaks accounted for over 40 billion cubic feet in the United States!
  • Annual methane greenhouse gas emissions = 48.25 million passenger vehicles
background distribution sector methane emissions 72 bcf
Background: Distribution Sector Methane Emissions (72 Bcf)

Protected Steel

Mains/Services

4 Bcf

Bcf = billion cubic feet

Other Sources

3 Bcf

M&R Stations

18 Bcf

Plastic

Mains/Services

6 Bcf

Cast Iron

Mains

8 Bcf

Regulator Stations

11 Bcf

Source: EPA. Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks 1990 – 2009. April, 2011. Available on the Web at:

www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usinventoryreport.html.

are we getting numb to leaks
Are we getting “numb” to leaks?

22 Gas Leak Calls 8 Gas leak calls

In the 4 years prior the month prior

to the explosion. to the explosion.

staffing levels
Staffing Levels
  • Significant reductions since deregulation (1998 Massachusetts)
  • Employees with decades of service:

“We do much less preventative work than we used to!”

  • Less home/business visits due to:
    • technology
    • “un-bundling” services (exiting heating repair)
    • Sub-contracting work to less experienced workers
    • Chasing the “worst” leaks!
    • Less preventative leak repairs (Grade 3’s)
predicting the unpredictable
Predicting the unpredictable

Winter Patrols need to be mandated

what s the fix
“What’s the fix?”

RATES

  • Redesign rate recovery for “a call to action”

“Low returns create incentives for (LDC’s) to avoid discretionary investment”

  • Regulators have the control for change!
  • “Decoupling” “Replacement Recovery” “Efficiency Programs”

Massachusetts ratepayers spent $65 million on gas efficiency but saved less than ½ the amount of gas leaked out of the pipeline in (2010)!

a blind eye approach to the solution
A “blind eye” approach to the solution

“Replacement will solve all our problems”

Maybe tomorrow’s solution, not today’s - alone!

  • Risks associated with rush to replace?
    • Incorrect installations
    • Collective failure for future generations
    • Locating difficulties
    • More plastic…more 3rd party hits – are we trading off hazards?

It’s too late to make up for lost time on past replacement….

thank you
THANK YOU!

New England Gas Workers Association

Mark McDonald

874 South St.

Boston, MA,

mark.mcdonald@negwa.com