PECO’s Exelon Infrastructure Services Inc. (EIS) announced a newservice yesterday in which gas utilities are offered a newcured-in-place relining technology, called starliner, forrehabilitating faulty mains and services. Utilities perform morethan 150,000 gas service line restorations and 4,500 miles of gasmain restoration each year, Exelon said. The majority of this workinvolves the traditional open-cut excavation. Unlike straight orrigid liners, cured-in-place liners can be installed through bends,fully open fittings, and where there may be variations in internaldiameters. This new service minimizes costly tasks like trafficcontrol and digging up and restoring streets, which account for 70%of the cost in gas line restoration work. Starliner has been usedsuccessfully in Europe since 1991 to restore over one million feetof gas main. EIS is the first construction company to offerstarliner to the U.S. market.

NiSource and Columbia filed a joint petition with the StateCorporation Commission of the Commonwealth of Virginia requestingapproval of their planned $6 billion merger, which was announcedFeb. 28. The transaction is expected to close by the end of theyear. The combined company will become the largest gas distributoreast of the Rocky Mountains, serving more than 4.1 millioncustomers primarily located in nine states. Columbia Gas ofVirginia, a Columbia Energy Group subsidiary, provides retail gasservice to more than 182,000 customers. The companies stressed theproposed merger would have no impact on Columbia Gas of Virginia’srates, terms and conditions now approved by the Commission. Thefiling also says following the NiSource/Columbia merger, ColumbiaGas of Virginia will maintain its headquarters, retain keymanagement personnel along with local decision-making authority,retain local operations and the employee workforce. The actionfollows a similar filing March 30 with the Pennsylvania PublicUtility Commission. NiSource and Columbia also will seek mergerapproval from state regulators in Kentucky and from various federalagencies.

The Gas Industry Standards Board (GISB) will facilitate a secondindustry-wide meeting April 17 on an organization to develop wholesaleand retail standards for the gas and electric industries. Themeeting, will be held at the Department of Energy’s ForrestalBuilding, 1000 Independence Ave., S.W., from 1 to 6 p.m. and will dealwith the scope of a gas and electric standards organization.Representatives of companies and trade associations in the gas andelectric industries, as well as interested individuals, are invited toattend, but registration is required. To register, e-mail the GISBoffice at by April12. The first meeting on the issue, held on Feb. 14 at DOE, dealt withthe need for a gas and electric standards organization. A thirdmeeting, also facilitated by GISB, will concern governance issues,including industry segments and voting procedures.

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