KUB: Natural gas supply still low after pipeline break


KUB: Natural gas supply still low after pipeline break    

The natural gas pipeline which ruptured Dec. 15 in Smith County won’t be back to full capacity for some time, and will require intensive testing, Knoxville Utilities Board Vice President of Utility Advancement Mike Bolin told KUB board members Thursday.

The line break between Lebanon and Carthage cut a “significant portion” of gas delivery to East Tennessee, he said. Customers in the KUB service area, along with utility customers in Smith, Anderson and Loudon counties were affected.

The 13-day cutoff was the biggest service interruption in two decades, Bolin said.

That led to public appeals for conservation, and KUB cut off some major customers that pay a lower rate on the expectation their supply might be interrupted, he said. Those major customers tend to have backup systems, Bolin said.

KUB began using stored liquid natural gas to make up the remaining deficit, and the pipeline was restored to limited service Dec. 29, he said.

Customers have returned to mostly normal use, but the main pipeline’s capacity will be diminished for the rest of the winter, Bolin said. Pipeline owner Enbridge will likely cut it again once the weather is warm to allow for pressure-testing, he said.

East Tennessee’s natural gas comes through a pipeline branching from a main line that runs from Texas to New York City, Bolin said. It was that branch line which ruptured, not far from the main line that passes through Nashville.


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