MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After a gas explosion killed two people at a Minneapolis school in 2017, a state agency is discussing plans to help prevent it from happening again.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission met with natural gas utility companies Monday to hear feedback on the use of Excess Flow Valves or EFVs, safety devices on gas pipelines that stop excessive unplanned gas flows.
Last August, the Public Utilities Commission ordered each natural gas distributor in Minnesota to pay for the cost of an EFV if a customer requested it. They also wanted them to meet with officials in schools, hospitals and nursing homes about the option of installing EFVs.
“Pushing the EFVs, our engineers just don’t think they’re the be all, end all,” said Amber Lee, with CenterPoint Energy.
CenterPoint Energy, which settled a lawsuit last year over the Minnehaha Academy explosion, said they wanted more time to discuss the valves. They said installing EFVs or curb valves onto just 10% of service lines would require five years to complete. They also said having face-to-face meetings with customers about the process would cost close to $70,000.
“I think building administrators can make decisions about the safety of what goes on,” Commissioner John Tuma said.
Ultimately, the commission decided that there would be follow-up discussions, including a meeting with the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety.