RRC presents preparations for the coming winter

Texas is currently experiencing a heat wave, but preparations are already underway for the coming winter.

This week, the Railway Commission sent a notice to operators, asking operators of gas and pipeline installations to take all necessary measures to operate during the winter season. The advisory details best practices and a reminder to update information with their electrical service providers for the critical load serving power generation. The critical load application, a form from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, is included in the notice.

Best practices include methanol injection or drip, solid absorption water removal, cold barriers, heating systems, glycol, drip pans, and filters of instruments. Another good practice is to plan carefully during the design phase of measurement and control systems to reduce the risk of freezing.

Andrew Keese, spokesperson for RRC, told Reporter-Telegram via email that the recently passed Senate Bill 3 requires the agency to pass rules requiring gas supply chain facilities and gas pipeline installations implement measures to prepare for operation in the event of a weather emergency. These rules will be adopted following a map released by the Texas Electricity Supply Chain Security and Mapping Committee. The deadline for publishing this map is September 1, 2022.

“But before that even happens, we want to work with the operators for the coming winter,” he wrote. “The measures mentioned in the advisory are not mandatory as the rules have not yet been adopted, but we will continue to follow up with operators to help keep Texans safe for next winter.”

In addition, the agency will work with major gas producers, natural gas storage facilities and transportation pipelines statewide in their winter readiness. Railway Commission inspectors will also visit sites to observe the readiness of operators who modify their facilities as they transition from summer to winter operations.

Keese told Reporter-Telegram that the agency is hiring inspectors for a new division that will oversee the weatherization. While this division is staffed, he said the agency will use the expertise of its current field inspectors.

“We want to make sure we’ve done our best to help protect Texans from inclement weather next winter,” Wei Wang, executive director of the commission, said in a statement.

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