NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) today announced an update on the implementation of a number of safety steps it is taking across the entirety of its seven-state operating area, including the installation of automatic shut-off devices to protect against over pressurization on its low-pressure systems.
Joe Hamrock, president and CEO of
- Over pressurization protection devices: As previously announced, NiSource has committed to invest an initial estimate of $150 million to install automatic shut-off devices to protect against over pressurization on every low-pressure system across its seven-state operating area. Installation work has already begun. This is a fundamental shift in the design of the natural gas system and is a priority for the company. Automatic shut-off devices provide an additional level of control and protection, operating like circuit-breakers. When the device senses an operating pressure that is too high or too low, it immediately shuts down natural gas to the system, regardless of the cause. Each of NiSource low-pressure distribution systems containing approximately 2,000 regulators across the seven-state operating area will have automatic shut-off devices in place to enhance customer safety.
- Remote monitoring:
NiSourcehas committed to adding additional remote monitoring capabilities on low-pressure systems, leveraging technology that will be installed throughout 2019. Building on existing monitoring capabilities, these will allow NiSourceto see more comprehensive details on the current health and status of its systems as well as how those systems perform throughout the year, including alerts during any event of any abnormal system performance, and notifying of any automatic shut-off device activation.
- Safety Management System (SMS):
NiSourcehas accelerated its process of implementing SMS across its seven-state operating area, in line with American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 1173. SMS will allow the company to proactively identify and mitigate risk and enhance its pipeline safety performance.
- Damage prevention:
NiSourcehas enhanced its damage prevention practices around low-pressure regulator stations, including field inspection and monitoring of excavators working for third parties. For example, when excavation work is being conducted in close proximity to regulator stations, a NiSourceemployee will always be present.
- Professional Engineer: In accordance with the
National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) urgent safety recommendations, NiSourcehas engaged a third party who will be providing certification on all construction work packets.
Additional details on the thorough review process following the
Field Survey: NiSourceconducted a field survey of its low-pressure regulator systems to identify opportunities to enhance the safe and reliable operation of regulator station equipment.
- Engineering Design: The company reviewed the engineering design of its regulator stations on low-pressure systems to determine how best to install additional over pressure protection systems, monitoring and enhanced facility protection.
- Mapping: The company used the information from the field survey to begin adding new details to its electronic mapping system. This information is easily accessible by field and engineering personnel.
Hamrock concluded: "We have updated policies, procedures, system infrastructure and risk assessment protocols to actively prevent future incidents across our natural gas network. We continue to evaluate every opportunity to engineer fail-safe measures in our systems. This work is of the utmost importance to me and our entire team. This is our ongoing commitment to our customers and our communities."
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