Following Allentown explosion, PUC report, UGI creates new website to better inform customers

Published: Sep 10 2012 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 10 2012 10:39:00 PM EDT

Gas company UGI has come under fire from regulators, lawmakers and people who live above the company's old cast iron gas lines.

In the wake of that disastrous gas explosion last year and then a finding against the company from the PUC, there's a new page on the UGI website to let you know when crews are replacing the pipes.

It's a way for UGI Utilities to inform customers about why a crew is working in their neighborhood.

“We really needed to increase our efforts to communicate to our customers, to our communities, to our legislatures and to other interested parties,” said Joseph Swope, communications manager for UGI.

The gas company is replacing old cast iron and bare steel lines.

Swope says it's an effort to provide an up to date system.

"It helps to explain to customers what you might see a crew doing there," added Swope.

The call to replace old lines got louder after the gas explosion at 13th and Allen Streets.

The question is how long will it take UGI to replace those old lines.

"The public is looking at us to make sure that our system is safe and reliable we take that responsibility seriously," said Swope.

Close to 1,700 miles of line need to be replaced.

In a report on the 13th and Allen disaster, released back in June by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, UGI was hit with a fine and asked to adopt a plan to replace all old pipes in ten years.

So far the company is not commenting on the findings of the report or the appeal that it filed.

"That's still in negotiations with the PUC," said Swope. "If there is a settlement on that complaint that changes the time frame obviously this site will reflect that."

This year it is projected that UGI will replace 60 miles of old lines.