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PSC alters farm tap inspection requirements for Spire


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a request from Spire Missouri to alter the company’s inspection requirements. 

The company requested an exemption from the PSC’s farm tap inspection rule. The rule requires the periodic inspection of pipelines branching from a transmission or gathering line to deliver gas to a farmer or other landowner, known as farm taps. The company operates more than 500 farm taps in its western service area but is only responsible for regulator inspections of 187 of them.

The company requested the inspections be encompassed as part of its Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP) as an alternative. The program requires an operator to maintain an understanding of its gas distribution systems, evaluate pipelines, and improve its programs. Commission Staff evaluated the request and found that Spire had not had a failure or leak in its farm taps in the past five years, and the change would not jeopardize the safety of gas lines or customers. 

The commission approved Spire’s request during Wednesday’s agenda meeting, ordering the company to comply with DIMP regulations and requiring yearly reports on the company’s farm taps.

The PSC also considered a request from Ameren Missouri to extend the deadline for its triannual cost studies on decommissioning nuclear-generating facilities. The company’s last filing was in September 2017, making its next report due Sept. 1. The company requested the variance through the end of the year, citing delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as power and internet outages caused by recent tropical storms. 

The PSC approved the extension through Dec. 31, 2020, finding the delays were caused by factors outside of the company’s control and the extension would not cause harm to Ameren’s ratepayers. 

The next PSC agenda meeting is scheduled for Sept. 9. Commissioners said they will continue meeting virtually for the foreseeable future.