LG&E completed a long-term gas main replacement project reached in the heart of downtown Louisville in June 2017.
The final stretch of work wrapped up an initiative that began back in 1996 when LG&E established a program to replace 540 miles of aging cast iron, wrought iron and bare steel natural gas pipelines, which are more vulnerable to degradation over time, with more durable plastic natural gas pipelines.
“Many utilities across the country only began making these types of upgrades within the last five years,” said John P. Malloy, vice president- LG&E Gas Distribution. “So having the foresight to put this upgrade in place when we did has enabled us to enhance the safety of our system for our customers well in advance of our peers and allowed us to put additional infrastructure upgrade plans in place for the future.”
While replacing the pipelines was not required when the program started, the company recognized the time-intensive work as a worthwhile effort toward improving the future safety and reliability of the utility’s system and received approval of the program from the Kentucky Public Service Commission.
It was an initiative that came 15 years before stringent federal distribution pipeline integrity regulations took effect in 2011, putting the company well ahead of the curve.
Completion of the program builds on LG&E’s ongoing safety measures within its natural gas system including its regular leak surveys and gas riser inspection and replacement program.
Moving forward, LG&E plans to expand infrastructure upgrades within its natural gas system. This will include replacing aging steel service lines with new plastic pipe, replacing aging natural gas transmission lines, carrying out reinforcement projects to enhance reliability and adding capacity to promote economic growth in its region.