From the magazine, HDD, Markets, Oil, gas and energy, Rehabilitation, Utility location

Gas regulation brings change

A regulation intended to amend the Gas Supply (Safety and Network Management) Regulation 2008 was proclaimed on 1 July 2010, prescribing elements of the Dial Before You Dig scheme.

Under the new regulation, excavation works proposed by or on behalf of a public authority or involving excavation relating to the construction, repair or maintenance of underground utility services must follow certain procedures. For these works and any others requiring consent or approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, it is now a legal requirement that the designated information provider for the scheme be contacted for information about the location and type of underground gas pipelines.

The regulation pertains to excavation works limited to the distribution district of a distribution network service provider. Certain works are exempt from the new requirements, such as minor excavations, excavations conducted under the Mining Act 1992 and excavation in an emergency. Owners of utility services and those working on behalf of them are also exempt from the requirements when excavating without machinery or power tools, or when urgent excavation is needed to stop water main breaks and leaks.

Enforcing the Dial Before You Dig scheme, if the gas pipelines information provided to the person carrying out the work contains a requirement to notify the relevant network operator, they must do so before the work is commenced or even authorised to commence. Information regarding the location and type of underground gas pipelines in the vicinity of proposed works must be requested within 30 days of commencing the work. The information gathered should be regarded whilst carrying out the work.

The WorkCover Authority’s Work Near Underground Assets Guideline forms part of the new scheme and must be provided to a person notifying network operators of excavation work, or the person carrying out the work. The regulation states the manner in which network operators must now be notified in the case of damage to underground gas pipelines caused by excavation work.

The amount of civil monetary liability of the designated information provider, or a person who is an employee or officer of or who is acting for the designated information provider, is now limited to a maximum of $A10 million for an act or omission relating to the provision of information under the scheme.

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