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Texas utilities replacing steel with plastic?

July 08, 2010

By Scott Lawrence

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Utilities in Texas could be required to replace decades-old steel natural gas pipelines with plastic versions to help prevent explosions.

The Dallas Morning News reports Texas Railroad Commission member Michael Williams on Tuesday planned to propose that utilities replace the steel lines, which can can shift and corrode.

Williams says Texas has at least 525,000 steel lines, in a replacement project that could reach $500 million.

Williams says the proposed upgrade would be the largest replacement program ever done by the three-member regulatory commission. Creating a rule to require the replacements could take months.

Utilities have been allowed to charge ratepayers for the cost of new infrastructure, plus a 10 percent profit.

By Scott Lawrence

Information from: The Dallas Morning News,