Natural Gas & Propane Safety

The Commission regulates natural gas service reliability and ensures compliance with safety standards for 1,382 miles of natural gas distribution mains, 84 miles of intra-state transmission pipelines (including the five-mile private pipeline operated by Woodland Pulp, LLC), and 39,485 services. These facilities were in service throughout Maine as of December 31, 2020, as noted in the operators’ annual reports to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) filed March 15, 2021. In addition, the Commission enforces safety standards for approximately 590 Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) distribution facilities that provide LPG service to multi-unit housing complexes, commercial buildings, and other facilities where LPG system failures would likely impact large numbers of people. (PHMSA).

The Commission derives its authority for safety oversight from both state and federal laws. Chapters 420 and 421 of the Commission’s rules adopt federal safety regulations for pipelines that transport hazardous gases to protect the public and govern the safe operation of distribution and intrastate transmission facilities within the State. The Commission is also a certified agent for PHMSA. In this role, the Commission ensures that intrastate natural gas transmission and distribution systems comply with federal pipeline safety standards and corresponding state regulations through operator inspections. Link to PHMSA's Inspection Page   Additionally, the Commission investigates natural gas safety incidents and pursues enforcement actions for violations of the federal or state safety regulations.

PHMSA’s Pipeline Safety Stakeholder Communications – Maine Enforcement Program

PHMSA’s Pipeline Incident 20 Year Trends, where incident data for Maine and other states may be found.

2021 NEPSR PIPELINE SAFETY SEMINAR PRESENTATIONS

Day 1 Presentations

Day 2 Presentations

Day 3 Presentations

2021 MAINE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION JURISDICTIONAL LP SEMINAR

JURISDICTIONAL LP REFERENCE INFORMATION 

9.1.16 LPG OPERATORS MEETING - PRESENTATION (PDF)

The following facilities fall under the MPUC's safety jurisdiction:

  • Intrastate natural gas transmission pipelines;
  • Natural gas distribution systems;
  • Utility operated liquefied natural gas facilities; and
  • Propane distribution facilities falling under the jurisdiction of 49 CFR 192.1.

TRANSMISSION PIPELINE MAPS

Maps of the intrastate natural gas transmission pipelines under the safety jurisdiction of the MPUC may be found at National Pipeline Mapping System.

INSPECTIONS, STATISTICS AND DATA

Natural gas utilities must receive the MPUC's authorization to construct and operate intrastate pipelines.  The MPUC's review of these projects primarily involves an engineering review of the utility's construction plans to ensure that the pipeline will conform to all American Standard Code of Pressure and Piping standards to ensure that pipeline is constructed and operated safely.  The MPUC does not review and approve siting and routing plans from an environmental standpoint, this review is conducted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection http://www.maine.gov/dep or the Maine Land Use Planning Commission http://www.maine.gov/dacf/lupc/index.shtml, and local municipal government.

Four natural gas utilities currently operate in Maine: Unitil, d//b/a Northern Utilities; Maine Natural Gas; Bangor Gas, and Summit Natural Gas.  Information for these utilities can be found at here.

The MPUC does not enforce safety regulations for interstate natural gas pipelines or hazardous liquid pipelines, those facilities are directly under the safety jurisdiction of PHMSA

The MPUC's Gas Safety Program staff are:

Nathan Dore, Gas Safety Program ManagerGas Safety Program Manager
nathan.dore@maine.gov
207-287-1375

Sean Watson, Gas Safety Program Manager
sean.watson@maine.gov
207-287-1082

Brandon Plourde, Gas Pipeline Safety Inspector
Brandon.plourde@maine.gov
(207)287-1364

Hattie Trask, Safety Programs Coordinator
hattie.trask@maine.gov
207-287-6075

If you need assistance or an alternate format, please contact the Public Information Coordinator at maine.puc@maine.gov or (207) 287-6141.

Propane Resources

Natural Gas


General Resources


Federal Regulations

Natural Gas


General Resources


Federal Regulations