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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #PI-23-0001

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

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Pacific Gas & Electric Company

Individual Name: Mr. Philip Simpkins

Location State: CA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

Philip Simpkins
Senior Counsel
Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Law Department
77 Beale Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Dear Mr. Simpkins:

In your December 19, 2022, letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) you requested an interpretation of the federal pipeline safety drug & alcohol (D&A) regulations in 49 CFR Part 199 with respect to employees who perform back-up coverage of emergency dispatching job duties that are regularly performed by PG&E's Work & Resource Dispatcher – Gas employees ("Gas Dispatchers").

You detailed the role of PG&E's Gas Dispatchers in your letter with regards to emergency gas calls and, while not specifically stated, your letter implies that PG&E has determined its Gas Dispatchers are covered employees subject to PHMSA's D&A Testing regulations.

The D&A regulations in § 199.3 define "performs a covered function" to include "actually performing, ready to perform, or immediately available to perform a covered function." Moreover, PHMSA has issued several interpretations wherein we consistently explain that an employee who performs a covered function is a covered employee regardless of their job title or whether they perform those functions full-time, part-time, or as a back-up.

Based on the information you provided, the PG&E Electric Dispatch employees who perform the back-up Gas Dispatch duties you described are covered employees as defined in § 199.3 and are subject to PHMSA's D&A Testing regulations because PG&E has determined that their Gas Dispatchers are covered employees.

If we can be of further assistance, please contact Tewabe Asebe at 202-366-5523.


John A. Gale
Director, Office of Standards
and Rulemaking

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
199.1 Scope