The Pipeline Engineering and Safety Division ("Pipeline Division" or "Division") acts as the Department's enforcement arm ensuring that operators of natural gas distribution companies, municipal gas departments and other intrastate operators are in compliance with state and federal regulations governing pipeline safety. The Division also oversees utility operators and excavators to preserve public utility service through enforcement of the Dig Safe Law (G.L. c. 82, §§ 40-40E).
The Pipeline Division has eight engineers who inspect the facilities and records of the gas companies and municipal gas departments in Massachusetts. These facilities include approximately 21,000 miles of mains, over 1,400,000 services, 20 liquefied natural gas ("LNG") plants, and 24 propane-air plants. The inspections are conducted to determine if the companies are complying with the federal and state pipeline safety codes. The Pipeline Division acts as an agent of the federal government. It works with the US Department of Transportation-Office of Pipeline Safety and the gas industry. The Division's director and staff have served on committees that helped to revise the federal pipeline safety codes.
Investigating gas incidents is another part of the Pipeline Division engineers' work. Determining the cause of gas incidents helps improve safety and prevent similar incidents in the future. Incident investigations have resulted in the promulgation of new safety regulations for abandoned service lines, cast iron pipe, and liquefied natural gas plants.
All the gas meters in the state are tested by the Division's meter inspectors. The meters are tested for accuracy and checked for leaks. After passing the test, each meter is stamped, showing that it is approved for use.
Answering consumer questions and helping to resolve customer complaints is another important part of the Division's work. If you have a question or a complaint (except for billing problems), you can call the Division at (617) 305-3537.
This information is provided by the Department of Public Utilities