A Message from Tim Horan: RIPUC approves FY2018 Infrastructure, Safety and Reliability Plans

By Tim Horan

I’m happy to let you know that following a year-long process, the Rhode Island Public Utility Commission (RIPUC) unanimously approved both our gas and electric FY18 Infrastructure, Safety and Reliability (ISR) Plans. Our annual gas and electric ISR plans are prepared with the same rigor of a rate case filing, and allow for concurrent recovery of our on-going capital infrastructure investments.

While energy isn’t free, our customers shouldn’t have to pay for waste. And they should be able to depend on us to safely deliver reliable service. Our regulators agree and trust that we will deliver on our annual plans and provide customers with safe, clean, reliable energy.

The investment of approximately $750M in our gas and electricity distribution systems over the last 5 years has resulted in visible improvements in our systems throughout RI, including improved reliability.

For the coming year, we received 100% of the more than $200M we requested for the combined gas and electric ISR plans. We thoughtfully plan our work to ensure a balance of energy programs that will bring energy to life for the residents and communities of Rhode Island.  Here are some of our ongoing and future ISR projects:

  • Natural Gas Pipeline (natural gas): We are proactively replacing approximately 50 miles of natural gas pipeline throughout the state with new plastic pipe that will reduce the number of leaks.
  • Allens Avenue (natural gas): We are replacing or retiring seven existing natural gas pressure regulating facilities at this major gas interchange. This multi-year project includes the abandonment and/or removal of obsolete pipe and equipment in support of the safety and reliability of our Allens Ave system.
  • Aquidneck Island (electric infrastructure): We are upgrading both the transmission and distribution system in order to handle the demand for power from customers on Aquidneck Island. Today’s infrastructure is antiquated and stretched to its limits.
  • South Street Substation (electric infrastructure): We are building a new electrical substation on the Providence River that will accommodate the electrical needs of future development downtown, including the I-195 Redevelopment District. It replaces a facility that was built in the 1920s.
  • Chase Hill and New London Substations (electric infrastructure): We are building two new electrical substations and upgrading the distribution system in the Hopkinton and Warwick areas. These will replace existing infrastructure in the region.
  • Volt/Var Optimization Program (new technology):  We are installing radio-controlled equipment on the distribution system to help improve the efficiency of the distribution network.

We’re fortunate that as a local company, our employees are our customers, and take pride in becoming a great operating company. Outside of the ISR, we continue to partner with FERC on projects that are bringing much benefit to the Ocean State:

  • Fields Point (natural gas): We’ve proposed building a natural gas liquefaction facility at our existing LNG storage facility at Fields Point in Providence. It will be a reliable, safe, cost-effective way to ensure our customers have the natural gas they need to heat their homes and businesses, particularly when the demand is greatest.
  • Sea2Shore (off-wind power): We interconnected the first off-shore wind farm in the US, and connected Block Island with our mainland electric network, giving customers access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy.

Special thanks to the folks who worked hard preparing our FY18 ISR Plans, and to the hundreds of employees dedicated to seeing all our projects through to successful completion.

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