How Our Rate Request Will Keep Customers Safe and Protect the Environment
Peoples started distributing natural gas to customers in 1885 — the same year that the first automobile was invented. Our pipelines were mostly made out of cast iron back then, and that network of pipes continued to expand for over 130 years. Now in 2019, we maintain over 15,000 miles of pipe across our service territory.
On January 28th, 2019, we filed a base rate increase request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, proposing an increase of $94.9 million to cover the cost of replacing our aging pipelines.
We have always been committed to keeping our customers and communities safe, and so maintaining our pipelines is a vital part of what we do every day. But replacing pipelines helps to protect the environment, too. The key component of natural gas is methane, and since methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, we’re significantly reducing methane emissions with every mile of pipeline we upgrade.
To hold ourselves accountable for these methane emissions, we took a huge step forward in 2016 when we launched an aggressive multi-year effort to replace and upgrade over 3,000 miles of natural gas pipelines in Western Pennsylvania. This pipeline replacement project is part of our Long-Term Infrastructure Improvement Plan (LTIIP) to improve both the safety and the sustainability of our natural gas distribution system.
Under the LTIIP, which was approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, we are replacing nearly all bare steel and cast iron pipelines in the system with new, state of the art plastic pipelines. Unlike steel or cast iron, the new plastic pipelines will not corrode. Plus, because they are more flexible, these plastic pipes can better withstand our region’s freeze and thaw cycle.
Since the acquisition of Equitable, we have invested over $600 million to replace more than 400 miles of aging pipeline. We plan to invest $200 million in our pipelines and related facilities in 2019 alone. Our rate request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission will help us to replace our expanding network of pipelines.
For us, replacing these pipelines isn’t just a requirement. It’s a crucial step and a tremendous opportunity to listen to our customers, to protect our communities, and to help our environment —and we’ve embraced this opportunity head-on.