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Interpretation Response #PI-09-0022 ([Kansas Corporation Commission] [Mr. Leo M. Haynos])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Kansas Corporation Commission

Individual Name: Mr. Leo M. Haynos

Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

March 8, 2010

Mr. Leo M. Haynos

Chief of Gas Operations & Pipeline Safety

Kansas Corporation Commission

1500 SW Arrowhead Road

Topeka, KS 66604

Dear Mr. Haynos:

In a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) dated November 10,2009, you requested PHMSA's views on an interpretation you drafted in response to a written request from Gardner Energy dated September 4,2009, for reconsideration of a determination by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) that the 1.2 mile high pressure gas pipeline it operated was a regulated transmission line.

In its letter, Gardner Energy, the electric utility serving the City of Gardner, stated that the 1.2 mile high pressure gas line connects a Southern Star high pressure natural gas transmission line to two combustion turbine generators. The line is a 6" diameter steel coated pipe. The metering point is at the tap. The turbines, which are in standby mode 365 days each year, are the sole load connected to the line; therefore, the only time that gas flows in the pipe is during operation of the turbines. Gardner Energy stated that the turbines were used solely for "peaking" and as a result, their operation was very limited and amounted to only 2,375.5 million cubic feet (MMCF) in 2008 and 13,133 MMCF in 2009. Based on this limited operation, Gardner contended that the pipeline should be considered to be an unregulated service line.

Under 49 CFR § 192.3, a transmission line is defined as:

"a pipeline, other than a gathering line, that: (1) transports gas from a gathering line or storage facility to a distribution center, storage facility, or large volume customer that is not down-stream from a distribution center; (2) operates at a hoop stress of 20 percent or more of SMYS; or (3) transports gas within a storage field. "

Based on the information provided by Gardner Energy, the line is a transmission line. We recognize that the frequency of operation of the turbines has only been occasional to date, but this does not change the pipeline classification. Since the definition of a transmission line is met if anyone of the three conditions in the definition is satisfied, the line meets the definition of a transmission line for the reasons stated in KCC's draft response to Gardner. We agree with KCC that the turbine power plant is a large volume customer for purposes of the transmission line definition despite the limited use of the turbines to date. A power plant can potentially be used year around and the maintenance and operating requirements for a pipeline supplying a power plant are consistent with other transmission pipelines, not service lines in a distribution system. Accordingly, we agree with KCC that the above-described 1.2 mile pipeline meets the definition of a regulated transmission line.

I hope that this information is helpful to you. If I can be of further assistance, please contact me at (202) 366-4046.


John A. Gale

Director, Office of Regulations

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
192.3 Definitions