CPW commissioners approve policy on natural gas

Jan 08 Written by  MONTE DUTTON

The Laurens Commission of Public Works wrestled with a reasonable policy regarding “the customer side of the natural gas meter” for the bulk of its regular monthly meeting on Monday night.

Establishing a balance among quality service to customers, safety and private business interests is a government issue as old as government itself. The consensus that emerged was geared toward relying on the discretion of service technicians.

The policy unanimously approved by CPW commissioners Gerald Abercrombie, Jeff Thompson, Ulysses Cunningham, Brenda Curry and chairman Parker Moore, with the advice of general manager John Young was to delete two items in the proposal, whose second paragraph now reads:

“The CPW will not light a pilot light, install piping, nor perform any repairs or maintenance work on the following; 1.) a natural gas appliance that does not meet the requirements of the Standard Gas Code, or, 2.) an appliance that the CPW technician believes to be unsafe. Moreover, the CPW shall deny natural gas service to any occupancy which has a connected natural gas appliance which does not meet the requirements of the Standard Gas Code.”

In total, the proposal maintained a reasonable leeway regarding “the event of an emergency such as a gas leak, cut line on the CPW side of the meter and only in cases where a minimum amount of work is required to restore service to the customer such as tighten a connection or install a flexible connector.”

Moore stressed a need for additional training over the coming year so that service technicians will be qualified to make judgments regarding the functionality and condition of customers’ furnaces.

Other business included two routine resolutions regarding the adoption of various department safety manuals and an extension of CPW’s participation in a state program to offer low-income home energy assistance.

The commissioners reviewed the latest financial statement, which included no unexpected or concerning figures. One positive development was the retirement of a $744,000 debt dating back to 2003.

The balance sheet reflected a generally better picture than the numbers of a year earlier. Gas profits of $527,402.37 were highest of the CPW utilities.

General manager Young remarked that customers will receive unusually high bills next month because of frigid temperatures over the past two weeks.   

The next CPW meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12.

Last modified on Monday, 08 January 2018 22:33