PUC Pipeline Safety Program Receives Audit from the Office of the State Auditors
On June 12, the Office of the State Auditors (OSA) released its findings from a 10-month-long performance audit on the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Pipeline Safety Program. Initiated by a legislative request in July, 2022, the audit examined the program's performance from 2017-2022.
While the issue of gas pipeline safety crosses several areas of the PUC’s work, the OSA focused on the operator inspection and compliance program managed by the Pipeline Safety Program. The 14-member safety program staff focus on two main areas:
- Records Audits: Ensures that an operator is performing tasks and managing their system according to their processes and procedures and all local, State, and Federal requirements.
- Field Inspections: Ensures new gas pipelines meet stringent safety standards.
The audit issued 39 findings grouped in 12 different recommendation groups. The PUC agreed with 38 of the findings and partially agreed to one finding.
Of the 39 findings, 31 require the PUC to establish uniform means and methods of performing inspections, documenting and reviewing inspections, managing and tracking complaints, and retaining documentation. Some of the audit’s recommendations, including better tracking of penalty dollars, have already been implemented.
In recent years, gas pipeline operators have made significant investments in improving the safety of Colorado’s natural gas system overall. In addition, recent legislation has provided additional new staff funding and rule changes to support the PUC’s oversight and inspection responsibilities. Altogether these changes give renewed energy and attention to the pipeline safety program and the PUC’s ability to implement the audit’s recommendations.
PUC Director Rebecca White stated "In general, the audit identified the need for better documentation and oversight of the PUC’s pipeline safety program. We welcome this scrutiny and the opportunity to strengthen the program and the important work we do to ensure public safety."
To view the audit and recommended actions, click here. (opens in new window)
To make comments on the audit, please click here. (opens in new window)
Progress Reports. To view progress reports, please click here. (opens in new window)