The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued a “Vote and Order Opening Inquiry” on March 18 into the use of professional engineers by natural gas companies pursuant to M.G.L. c. 164 s. 148 as added by https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2018/Chapter339
ACEC/MA seeks member comments by April 8, 2019. Comments are due to the DPU on April 18 at 5 pm. Based on comments received, they will establish a further protocol schedule that may provide for technical sessions.
On Monday, December 31, 2018, the Senate passed An Act ensuring the safety and soundness of the commonwealth’s natural gas infrastructure, previously passed by the House, and Governor Baker signed it into law as Chapter 339 of the Acts of 2018..
This new law includes an emergency preamble and takes effect immediately.
Utilities operating in Massachusetts will face new oversight on natural gas work. The bill implements a recommendation the National Transportation Safety Board made in its ongoing review of the September 13, 2018 natural gas fires and explosions that killed one person and damaged homes and businesses throughout Andover, North Andover and Lawrence. It requires that all natural gas work that might pose a material risk to the public be reviewed and approved by a certified professional engineer.
The bill, as signed into law, is the original language as filed by the Governor on November 20, 2018. It is very unusual for a bill to sail through informal session so quickly. ACEC/MA was the only association to testify on the bill during its public hearing before the Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy on December 11, 2018.
The Department of Public Utilities will be issuing draft regulations that clarify how Professional Engineers are to be in responsible charge of these projects. More on this process soon.
This is the final language of what is now Chapter 339 of the Acts of 2018
Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to require that professional engineers approve engineering plans developed by or on behalf of gas companies, which is immediately necessary to ensure the safe construction, operation and maintenance of gas infrastructure and to accomplish other important public purposes, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public safety.
Bill H.5005 (most current version available as of 1/2/2019)
SECTION 1. Subsection (l) of section 81R of chapter 112 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “corporation”, in line 86, the following words:- ; provided, however, that this subsection shall not apply to engineering work or services that could pose a material risk to public safety, as determined by the department of public utilities, performed by or on behalf of a gas company, as defined by section 1 of chapter 164, that distributes and sells gas within the commonwealth.
SECTION 2. Chapter 164 of the General Laws shall be amended by adding the following section:-
Section 148. Any engineering plans or specifications for engineering work or services that could pose a material risk to public safety, as determined by the department pursuant to subsection (l) of section 81R of chapter 112, developed by or on behalf of a gas company shall bear the stamp of approval of a professional engineer certified under section 81E of said chapter 112; provided, however, that any such plan or specification shall be housed within the applicable gas company subject to review and audit by the department and shall be deemed to be filed with a public authority within the meaning of section 81M of said chapter 112. The department may promulgate regulations as necessary to implement this section and applicable provisions of subsection (l) of section 81R of said chapter 112.
ACEC/MA Executive Director Abbie Goodman testified before the Massachusetts legislature's Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy on December 11, 2018. [photo: Molly Sullivan]
ACEC/MA members only pay the ACEC/MA member rate for registration. Check the ACEC/MA Member Directory to see if your firm is an ACEC/MA member. If your firm is an ACEC/MA member, you are a member.
Important: You must use the account, including the username and password, of the individual you wish to register.
Forgot your password? | Need an account?
IMPORTANT: Altering your name or contact information during registration will overwrite your record in our membership database. Please do not share your login information with anyone else.
If you have additional questions regarding registration, contact us at 617/227-5551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration is processed through the ACEC/MA associated website, www.engineers.org. ACEC/MA is supported by the staff of The Engineering Center Education Trust.