(California) Public Utilities Commission D 17-06-015 Gas Leak Decision

Last updated: 18 May 2022

Establishes best practices and reporting requirements for the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Natural Gas Leak Abatement Program, in consultation with the California Air Resources Board, pursuant to Senate Bill 1371.


The rule requires annual reporting for tracking methane emissions from pipelines and associated facilities such as underground gas storage; sets forth 26 mandatory best practices for minimising methane emissions; incorporates a biennial compliance plan into the utilities’ annual Gas Safety Plans; and establishes a cost recovery process for the Commission to approve company expenditures to implement best practices.


The 26 best practices fall into the following categories: policies and procedures; recordkeeping; training (in minimising uncontrolled methane emissions and minimising methane emissions policies); experienced, trained personnel; leak detection; leak repair; and leak prevention. Leak detection surveys along pipeline systems are required at least once every 3 years, with additional screening for higher risk segment and components. All utilities must follow 15 of the best practices; only those with larger emissions profiles will have to follow all 26. 


Decision also sets a "soft" target of reducing methane emissions 40% from 2013 levels in pipelines and storage infrastructure by 2030. This target was incorporated from Senate Bill 1383 (2016), which set this goal for the entire California economy.


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