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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 53 Pa.B. 6142 (September 30, 2023).

52 Pa. Code § 57.198. Inspection and maintenance standards.

§ 57.198. Inspection and maintenance standards.

 (a)  Filing date and plan components. Every 2 years, by October 1, an EDC shall prepare and file with the Commission a biennial plan for the periodic inspection, maintenance, repair and replacement of its facilities that is designed to meet its performance benchmarks and standards under this subchapter. EDCs in Compliance Group 1, as determined by the Commission, shall file their initial plans on October 1, 2009. EDCs in Compliance Group 2, as determined by the Commission, shall file their initial plans on October 1, 2010. Each EDC’s biennial plan must cover the 2 calendar years beginning 15 months after filing, be implemented 15 months after filing, and must remain in effect for 2 calendar years thereafter. In preparing this plan, the following facilities are critical to maintaining system reliability:

   (1)  Poles.

   (2)  Overhead conductors and cables.

   (3)  Transformers.

   (4)  Switching devices.

   (5)  Protective devices.

   (6)  Regulators.

   (7)  Capacitors.

   (8)  Substations.

 (b)  Plan consistency. The plan must be consistent with the National Electrical Safety Code, Codes and Practices of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Regulations and the provisions of the American National Standards Institute, Inc.

 (c)  Time frames. The plan must comply with the inspection and maintenance standards in subsection (n). A justification for the inspection and maintenance time frames selected shall be provided, even if the time frame falls within the intervals prescribed in subsection (n). However, an EDC may propose a plan that, for a given standard, uses intervals outside the Commission standard, provided that the deviation can be justified by the EDC’s unique circumstances or a cost/benefit analysis to support an alternative approach that will still support the level of reliability required by law.

 (d)  Routine inspection and maintenance. The plan must specify for the standards in subsection (n) the routine inspection and maintenance requirements, and emergency maintenance plans and procedures.

 (e)  Reduction of risk of outages. The plan shall be designed to reduce the risk of outages by accounting for age, condition, technology, design and performance of system components and by inspecting, maintaining, repairing, replacing and upgrading the system.

 (f)  Clearance of vegetation. The plan must include a program for the maintenance of clearances of vegetation from the EDC’s overhead distribution facilities.

 (g)  Consistency with reliability reports. The plan must form the basis of, and be consistent with, the EDC’s inspection and maintenance goals and objectives included in subsequent annual and quarterly reliability reports filed with the Commission under § §  57.193(c) and 57.195 (relating to transmission system reliability; and reporting requirements).

 (h)  Review procedure. Within 90 days of receipt of the plan, the Commission or the Director of the Bureau of Conservation, Economics and Energy Planning (CEEP) will accept or reject the plan in writing.

 (i)  Deemed acceptance. Absent action by the Commission or the Director of CEEP to reject the plan within 90 days of the plan’s submission to the Commission, the plan will be deemed accepted.

 (j)  Plan deficiencies. If the plan is rejected, in whole or in part, by the Commission or the Director of CEEP, the EDC will be notified of the plan’s deficiencies and directed to submit one of the following:

     (i)   A revised plan, or pertinent parts of the plan, addressing the identified deficiencies.

     (ii)   An explanation why the EDC believes its plan is not deficient. The revised plan is deemed accepted absent any action by the Commission within 90 days of the filing.

 (k)  Appeal procedure. An EDC may appeal the Commission staff’s determination under subsection (h) by filing an appeal under §  5.44 (relating to petitions for appeal from actions of the staff) within 20 days after service of notice of the action. A final Commission determination is appealable to the Commonwealth Court. Absent having a granted stay, the EDC is obligated to comply with the Commission’s directives regarding its inspection, maintenance, repair and replacement plans.

 (l)  EDC updates. An EDC may request approval from the Commission for revising its approved plan. An EDC shall submit to the Commission, as an addendum to its quarterly reliability report under § §  57.193(c) and 57.195, prospective and past revisions to its plan and a discussion of the reasons for the revisions. Within 60 days, the Commission or the Director of CEEP will accept or reject the revisions to the plan. The appeal procedure in subsection (k) applies to the appeal of a rejection of revisions to the plan.

 (m)  Recordkeeping. An EDC shall maintain records of its inspection and maintenance activities sufficient to demonstrate compliance with its distribution facilities inspection, maintenenance, repair and replacement programs as required by subsection (n). The records shall be made available to the Commission upon request within 30 days. Examples of sufficient records include:

   (1)  Date-stamped records signed by EDC staff who performed the tasks related to inspection.

   (2)  Maintenance, repair and replacement receipts from independent contractors showing when and what type of inspection, maintenance, repair or replacement work was done.

 (n)  Inspection and maintenance intervals. An EDC shall maintain the following inspection and maintenance plan intervals:

   (1)  Vegetation management. The Statewide minimum inspection and treatment cycle for vegetation management is between 4-8 years for distribution facilities. An EDC shall submit a condition-based plan for vegetation management for its distribution system facilities explaining its treatment cycle.

   (2)  Pole inspections. Distribution poles shall be inspected at least as often as every 10—12 years except for the new southern yellow pine creosoted utility poles which shall be initally inspected within 25 years, then within 12 years annually after the initial inspection. Pole inspections must include:

     (i)   Drill tests at and below ground level.

     (ii)   A shell test.

     (iii)   Visual inspection for holes or evidence of insect infestation.

     (iv)   Visual inspection for evidence of unauthorized backfilling or excavation near the pole.

     (v)   Visual inspection for signs of lightening strikes.

     (vi)   A load calculation.

   (3)  Pole inspection failure. If a pole fails the groundline inspection and shows dangerous conditions that are an immediate risk to public or employee safety or conditions affecting the integrity of the circuit, the pole shall be replaced within 30 days of the date of inspection.

   (4)  Distribution overhead line inspections. Distribution lines shall be inspected by ground patrol a minimum of once every 1-2 years. A visual inspection must include checking for:

     (i)   Broken insulators.

     (ii)   Conditions that may adversely affect operation of the overhead transformer.

     (iii)   Other conditions that may adversely affect operation of the overhead distribution line.

   (5)  Inspection failure. If critical maintenance problems are found that affect the integrity of the circuits, they shall be repaired or replaced no later than 30 days from discovery.

   (6)  Distribution transformer inspections. Overhead distribution transformers shall be visually inspected as part of the distribution line inspection every 1-2 years. Above-ground pad-mounted transformers shall be inspected at least as often as every 5 years and below-ground transformers shall be inspected at least as often as every 8 years. An inspection must include checking for:

     (i)   Rust, dents or other evidence of contact.

     (ii)   Leaking oil.

     (iii)   Installation of fences or shrubbery that could adversely affect access to and operation of the transformer.

     (iv)   Unauthorized excavation or changes in grade near the transformer.

   (7)  Recloser inspections. Three-phase reclosers shall be inspected on a cycle of 8 years or less. Single-phase reclosers shall be inspected as part of the EDC’s individual distribution line inspection plan.

   (8)  Substation inspections. Substation equipment, structures and hardware shall be inspected on a cycle of 5 weeks or less.


   The provisions of this §  57.198 adopted under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 57.191—57.197 and Chapter 28.


   The provisions of this §  57.198 adopted September 26, 2008, effective September 27, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 5273.

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