Utah Department of Administrative Services Division of Administrative Rules

Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since November 1, 2014, please see the codification segue page.

NOTE TO RULEFILING AGENCIES: Use the RTF version for submitting rule changes.


R746. Public Service Commission, Administration.

Rule R746-320. Uniform Rules Governing Natural Gas Service.

As in effect on November 1, 2014

Table of Contents

R746-320-1. General Provisions.

A. Scope and Applicability -- This rule applies to the methods and conditions of service used by utilities furnishing natural gas service in Utah. These rules supersede any conflicting provisions contained in tariffs of natural gas utilities subject to Commission jurisdiction. A utility may petition the Commission for an exemption from specified portions of these rules in accordance with R746-100-15, Deviation from Rules.

B. Definitions --

1. "British Thermal Unit" or "BTU" means the quantity of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.

2. "CFR" means the Code of Federal Regulations, April 1, 1994 edition.

3. "Commission" means the Public Service Commission of Utah.

4. "Cubic Foot" means:

a. when gas is supplied and metered to customers at the standard delivery pressure, as defined in Subsection R746-320-2(G), the volume of gas which, at the temperature and pressure existing in the meter, occupies one cubic foot;

b. when gas is supplied to customers through positive displacement meters at other than standard delivery pressure, the volume of gas which occupies one cubic foot after applying a suitable correction factor to simulate delivery and metering at standard delivery pressure; the correction factor shall include allowance for gas temperature when it is reasonably practical to determine that factor;

c. when gas is supplied through other meters, the volume of gas which occupies one cubic foot at a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and at absolute pressure as provided in utility tariff rates or regulations approved by this Commission.

5. "Customer" means a person, firm, partnership, company, corporation, organization, or governmental agency supplied with gas by a gas utility subject to Commission jurisdiction.

6. "Customer Meter" means the device used to measure the volume of gas transferred from a gas utility to a customer.

7. "Main" means a distribution line that is designed to serve as a common source of supply for more than one service line. The term does not include service lines.

8. "Service Line" means a distribution line that transports gas from a common source of supply to:

a. a customer meter or the connection to a customer's piping, whichever is farther downstream, or

b. the connection to a customer's piping if there is no customer meter.

9. "Therm" means a unit of heating value equalling 100,000 BTU.

10. "Utility" means a gas corporation as defined in Section 54-2-1.

R746-320-2. Quality Control Equipment, Standards, Records and Reports.

A. Testing Equipment and Facilities --

1. Utilities shall own and maintain or have access to the testing equipment necessary to make Commission-required tests of the gas sold by the utilities. The Commission may approve arrangements for individual utilities to have their testing done by another utility or competent party.

2. Utilities shall properly maintain testing equipment which shall be subject to Commission inspection. The Commission may inspect the testing equipment at reasonable times.

3. Utilities shall locate and use testing equipment so as to ensure that gas samples taken are fairly representative of the gas being distributed in the portion of the system being tested.

B. Heating Value --

1. Utilities shall file with the Commission, as part of their tariffs, the range within which the average heating value per unit of gas to be sold will fall.

2. Utilities shall maintain the heating value established in their tariffs and in so doing shall regulate the chemical composition and specific gravity of the gas so as to maintain satisfactory combustion in customers' appliances without repeated adjustment of the burners.

3. When utilities distribute supplemental or substitute gas, they shall ensure that it performs satisfactorily regardless of heating value.

C. Heating Value Tests, Records, and Reports --

1. Utilities shall make sufficient tests, or have access to tests made by their suppliers, to accurately determine the heating value of the gas sold.

2. Tests shall be made at a location, or locations, which will ensure the samples taken fairly represent the gas being furnished to the utilities and their customers. Test reports shall be available for review when requested by the Commission.

D. BTU Measurement Equipment --

1. Utilities shall maintain or have access to an approved type calorimeter in an adequate testing station as specified in Subsection R746-320-2(C)(1). Utilities may use an approved recording calorimeter which shall be checked at least once each month with an approved standard calorimeter or against a standard gas.

2. Both calorimeter and method of testing shall be subject to Commission inspection.

3. Utilities may use BTU measuring equipment other than calorimeters upon petition to and approval by the Commission.

E. Gas Odor -- Gas supplied to customers shall be odorized in accordance with 49 CFR 192.625, which is incorporated by this reference.

F. Purity of Gas -- Gas supplied to customers shall contain no more than 75 to 80 parts per million of total sulfur. Gas shall be free of water and hydrocarbons in liquid form at the temperature and pressure at which the gas is delivered.

G. Standard Delivery Pressure -- Standard Delivery Pressure shall be four ounces above local atmospheric pressure. Maximum and minimum low pressure delivery pressures shall conform to 49 CFR 192.623, which is incorporated by reference.

H. Pressure Testing and Maintenance of Standards --

1. Utilities shall make every reasonable effort to maintain adequate gas pressure. Utilities shall make determinations and keep records of pressures adequate to enable the utilities at all times to have accurate current knowledge of the pressure existing in their distribution systems. Pressure records shall be properly identified, dated, and filed in the utilities' records.

2. Utilities shall periodically test and maintain the accuracy of any recording pressure gauges.

3. Pressure limiting and regulator stations shall comply with 49 CFR 192.741, which is incorporated by this reference.

R746-320-3. Use, Location, and Accuracy Tests of Meters.

A. Use of Meters -- Gas sold by utilities shall be metered through approved meters except in case of emergency, or when otherwise authorized by the Commission as provided in R746-100-15, Deviation from Rules. Meters shall bear an identifying number and shall be plainly marked to show the units of the meter index. When gas is delivered at higher than standard pressure, the contract, rate schedule, or gas bill shall specify the method to be used to correct the gas volume to standard pressure.

B. Meter Location -- Meters may be located either inside or outside of buildings. The locations selected by utilities and provided by customers shall be convenient for inspection and reading of the meters and shall comply with 49 CFR 192.353, 192.355, 192.357, incorporated by reference.

C. Meter Accuracy at Installation -- New meters and reinstalled meters shall be no more than one percent fast or two percent slow.

D. Initial Tests of Meters -- Meters shall be tested and meet the foregoing accuracy limits before installation. When meters are placed into service, the meter index reading shall be recorded.

E. Periodic Tests of Meters --

1. Utilities shall adopt schedules for periodic tests and repairs of positive displacement meters. Utilities shall keep records of accuracy of meters periodically tested and shall analyze the records to determine meter service life for purposes of adjusting the periods for testing and servicing meters.

2. Unless a time extension or a statistical sampling method is approved by the Commission, meter test intervals for displacement meters of the following rated capacities shall not exceed the following:

                                                     TABLE
     a.  To 300 cu. ft./hr              10 yrs
     b.  300 to 600 cu. ft./hr           5 yrs
     c.  600 to 1,500 cu. ft./hr         3 yrs
     d.  Over 1,500 cu. ft./hr           2 yrs
     e.  Orifice Meters, inspected
         and checked for accuracy        1 yr
                                                            

F. Meter Tests by Request --

1. Upon written request, utilities shall test a customer's meter promptly. If a meter has been tested within 12 months preceding the date of the request, the utility concerned may require the customer to make a deposit to defray the costs of the test. If the meter is found to be more than three percent inaccurate, either over or under, the deposit shall be refunded; otherwise the deposit may be processed by the utility as a service charge. The deposit shall not exceed the estimated cost of performing the test.

2. The customer shall be entitled to observe the test and the utility shall forward a copy of the written report of the test to the customer.

G. Referee Meter Tests -- If there is a dispute over a test, the customer concerned may request a referee test in writing. The Commission may require the deposit of a testing fee in connection with a referee test to defray costs of the test. Upon filing of the request and receipt of the deposit, if needed, the Commission shall notify the utility and the utility shall not remove the meter until the Commission so instructs. The meter shall be tested in the presence of the Commission's representative, and if the meter is found to be more than three percent inaccurate, the customer's deposit may be refunded; otherwise it may be kept.

H. Billing Adjustments for Meter Variance --

1. If a meter tested pursuant to Subsections R746-320-3(E) and (F) is more than three percent fast, there shall be refunded to the customer the amount billed in error for one-half the period since the last test. The one- half period shall not exceed six months unless it can be shown that the error was due to some cause, the date of which can be fixed. In this instance, the overcharge shall be computed back to, but not beyond, that date.

2. If a meter tested pursuant to Subsections R746-320-3(E) and (F) is more than three percent slow, the utility may bill the customer in an amount equal to the unbilled error for one-half the period since the last test, that one-half period shall not exceed six months.

3. When there is a nonregistering meter, the customer may be billed on an estimate based on previous bills for similar usage. The estimated period shall not exceed three months.

4. When there is unauthorized use, the customer may be billed on a reasonable estimate of the gas consumed.

I. Standard Meter Test Methods -- Meter tests shall be made by trained personnel using approved methods and testing equipment. The methods and apparatus recommended in the Gas Displacement Standard, Second Edition 1985, published by the American Gas Association and incorporated by this reference, may be used to satisfy this rule.

J. Meter Testing Equipment -- Utilities shall own and maintain, or have access to, at least one five- cubic-foot prover of an approved type, as well as other equipment necessary to test meters. Meter testing equipment shall be installed in a meter testing station designed for that purpose.

K. Records of Meter Tests -- Utilities shall record the original data of meter tests on standard forms and preserve the data until the next time meters are tested.

L. Meter Records -- Utilities shall keep permanent records of their meters. Utilities shall start a record for each meter when purchased and include the date of purchase, identification number, manufacturer's name, type, and rating. Utilities shall keep records of any tests, adjustments, and repairs. Utilities shall keep records of meter readings when the meters are installed or removed from service together with the addresses of customers served. The meter records shall be systematically kept and filed until the meters are retired.

R746-320-5. Design, Construction, and Operation of Plant.

A. Generally --

1. Facilities owned or operated by utilities and used in furnishing gas shall be designed, constructed, maintained and operated so as to provide adequate and continuous service. Utilities shall, at all times, use every reasonable effort to protect the public from danger and shall exercise due care to reduce the hazards to which employees, customers, and others may be subjected from their equipment and facilities.

2. Utilities shall use accepted good practice of the gas industry, but in no event shall those practices be construed to require less than required by this rule, R746-409, Pipeline Safety in Utah, Chapter 13 of Title 54, and the federal Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. Section 1671 et seq.

B. Regulators -- If the gas pressure maintained in a customer's service line exceeds the standard delivery pressure, the utility concerned shall install an approved service regulator on the service line on the customer's premises. The regulator shall be set to deliver gas within the established delivery pressure range and shall have a vent piped to the outdoors if the regulator is located within a building. If pressure in the service line exceeds 100 p.s.i.g., a primary regulator, in addition, shall be installed on the service line outside the building. Regulators shall not be required for service of industrial or commercial customers served through high pressure meters.

C. Main Extensions -- Utilities shall adopt, with Commission approval, uniform rules and regulations governing main extensions.

D. Installation and Maintenance of Service Lines and Meters --

1. Utilities shall furnish, install and maintain, free of charge, a gas service line from the gas main adjacent to customers' premises to the customers' property lines or curbs, except that utilities shall not be required to install the piping on the outlet side of meters.

2. Customers may be required by utilities to install or pay in full or in part for gas service lines from property lines to customers' buildings in accordance with approved tariffs.

3. Service lines and meters shall be owned and maintained by utilities.

E. Service Lines for Temporary Service --

1. Utilities may provide temporary service to customers and may require the customers to bear any costs, in excess of any salvage value realized, of installing and removing service lines.

2. Temporary service shall be considered service provided for emergency or short-term use, as specified in approved tariffs, or service for speculative operations or those of questionable permanency.

F. Gas Service Line Valves --

1. New gas service lines, entering customers' buildings, which are operating at a pressure greater than 10 p.s.i.g., and other service lines two inches or larger, I.P.S., shall be equipped with a gas service line valve located on the service line outside buildings served. If a service line valve is underground, it shall be located in a durable curb box at an easily-accessible location. The top of the curb box shall be at ground level and shall be kept visible by the customer.

2. Service lines shall be equipped with a gas service line valve near the meter. If a service line is not equipped with an outside shut-off, the inside shut-off shall be a type which can be sealed in the off position.

R746-320-6. Records.

A. Maps and Records --

1. Utilities shall keep suitable maps or records to show size, location, character, and date of installation of major plant items.

2. Upon Commission request, and in form specified by or satisfactory to the Commission, utilities shall file adequate descriptions or maps showing the location of facilities.

B. Operating Records --

1. Utilities shall keep appropriate operating records for use in statistical and analytical studies for regulatory purposes.

2. Operating records shall be subject to Commission inspection at reasonable times.

C. Availability of Records -- Utilities shall keep any records made mandatory by these rules at the utilities' offices in Utah. Commission representatives may inspect mandatory records at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner during normal operating hours.

D. Reports to the Commission -- Utilities shall furnish to the Commission, at times and in form designated by the Commission, the results of required tests and summaries of mandatory records. At Commission request, utilities shall also furnish the Commission with information concerning facilities or operations.

E. Preservation of Records -- The Commission adopts the standards of 18 CFR 225, incorporated by reference, to govern the preservation of records of natural gas utilities subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.

R746-320-7. Accounting.

A. Uniform System of Accounts -- The Commission adopts 18 CFR 201, incorporated by this reference, as the uniform system of accounts for gas utilities subject to Commission jurisdiction. Utilities shall use this system.

B. Uniform List of Retirement Units of Property -- The Commission adopts 18 CFR 216, incorporated by this reference, as the schedule to be used in conjunction with the uniform system of accounts in accounting for additions to and retirements of gas plant. Utilities subject to Commission jurisdiction shall use this schedule.

R746-320-8. Billing Adjustments.

A. Definitions --

1. A "backbill" is that portion of a bill, other than a levelized bill, which represents charges not previously billed for service that was actually delivered to the customer before the current billing cycle.

2. A "catch-up bill" is a bill based on an actual reading provided after one or more bills based on estimated or customer readings. A catch-up bill which exceeds by 50 percent or more the bill that would have been provided under a utility's standard estimation program is presumed to be a backbill.

B. Notice -- The account holder may be notified by mail, by phone, or by a personal visit, of the reason for the backbill. This notification shall be followed by, or include, a written explanation of the reason for the backbill that shall be received by the customer before the due date and be sufficiently detailed to apprise the customer of the circumstances, error or condition that caused the underbilling, and, if the backbill covers more than a 24-month period, a statement setting forth the reasons the utility did not limit the backbill under Subsection R746-320-8(D).

C. Limitations on Providing a Backbill -- A utility shall not provide a backbill more than three months after the utility actually became aware of the circumstance, error, or condition that caused the underbilling and the correct calculation to be used in the backbill has been determined. This limitation does not apply to fraud, theft of service, and denial of access to meter situations.

D. Limitations of the Period for Backbilling --

1. A utility shall not bill a customer for service provided more than 24 months before the utility actually became aware of the circumstance, error, or condition that caused the underbilling or that the original billing was incorrect.

2. When there is customer fraud, theft of service, or denial of access to the meter, the utility shall estimate a bill for the period over which the fraud or theft was perpetrated or that denial of access occurred. The time limitations of Subsection R746-320-8(D)(1) do not apply to customer fraud or theft situations.

3. In the case of a backbill for Utah sales taxes not previously billed, the period covered by the backbill shall not exceed the period for which the utility is assessed a sales tax deficiency.

E. Payment Period and Interest -- A utility shall permit the customer to make arrangements to pay a backbill without interest over a time period at least equal in length to the time period over which the backbill was assessed. However, interest will be assessed at the rate applied to past due accounts on amounts not timely paid in accordance with the established arrangements. If the utility has demonstrated that the customer knew or reasonably should have known that the original billing was incorrect or in the case where there has been fraud or theft, interest will be assessed from the time the original payment was due.

R746-320-9. Overbilling.

A. Standards and Criteria for Overbilling -- Billing under the following conditions constitutes overbilling:

1. a meter registering more than three percent fast, or a defective meter;

2. use of an incorrect heat value multiplier;

3. incorrect service classification, if the information supplied by the customer was not erroneous or deficient;

4. billing based on a crossed meter condition where the customer is billed on the incorrect meter;

5. meter turnover, or billing for a complete revolution of a meter which did not occur;

6. a delay in refunding payment to a customer pursuant to rules providing for refunds for line extensions;

7. incorrect meter reading or recording by the utility; and

8. incorrect estimated demand billings by the utility.

B. Interest Rate --

1. A utility shall provide interest on customer payments for overbilling. The interest rate shall be the greater of the interest rate paid by a utility on customer deposits, or the interest rate charged by a utility for late payments.

2. Interest shall be paid from the date when the customer overpayment is made, until the date when the overpayment is refunded. Interest shall be compounded during the overpayment period.

C. Limitations --

1. A utility shall not be required to pay interest on overpayments if offsetting billing adjustments are made during the next full billing cycle after the receipt of the overpayment.

2. The utility shall be required to offer refunds, in lieu of credit, only when the amount of the overpayment exceeds $50 or the sum of two average month's bills, whichever is less. However, the utility shall not be required to offer a refund to a customer having a balance owing to the utility, unless the refund would result in a credit balance in favor of the customer.

3. If a customer is given a credit for an overpayment, interest will accrue only up to the time at which the first credit is made, when credits are applied over two or more bills.

4. A utility shall not be required to make a refund of, or give a credit for, overpayments which occurred more than 24 months before the customer submitted a complaint to the utility or the Commission, or the utility actually became aware of an incorrect billing which resulted in an overpayment. For all overbilling conditions specified in 746-320-9.A, except for crossed meter conditions specified in 746-320-9.A.4 not caused by the utility, an exception to the 24 month limitation period applies when the overbilling can be shown to be due to some cause, the date of which can be fixed. In this instance the overcharge shall be computed back to that date and the entire overcharge shall be refunded.

5. When a utility can demonstrate before the Commission that a customer knew or reasonably should have known about an overpayment, a utility shall not be required to pay interest on the overpayment.

6. Utilities shall not be required to pay interest on overpayment credits or refunds which were made before the effective date of this rule provision.

7. Disputes regarding the level or terms of the refund or credit are subject to the informal and formal review procedures of the Utah Public Service Commission.

KEY

rules and procedures, public utilities, utility service shutoff

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

January 7, 2013

Notice of Continuation

November 28, 2012

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law

54-2-1; 54-4-1; 54-4-7; 54-4-18; 54-4-23


Additional Information

Contact

For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R746, please contact the promulgating agency (Public Service Commission, Administration). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.