Impact of Natural Gas Line Rupture in Smith County, TN

Lenoir City Utilities Board (LCUB) held a special board meeting this morning, including invited local media, to discuss the events surrounding a natural gas line rupture that took place at 2:30pm CT Saturday afternoon, December 15th, in Smith County, Tennessee. Enbridge Incorporated, one of the natural gas suppliers, notified LCUB on Sunday evening that a 22-inch in diameter natural gas pipeline had ruptured. Gas flow to the pipeline was immediately discontinued to protect the nearby residents and the environment.

The pipeline affected feeds supply to LCUB’s sixty-three hundred (6300) natural gas customers. Currently, there has been no impact on service to LCUB natural gas customers, as Enbridge has been leveraging alternative natural gas sources to supply utility service to their customers. There is no immediate timeline that has been given to when the line will be repaired, and service returned, as there is an ongoing investigation into the cause of the rupture and the determination of the damage and assessment of repairs needed

“Our first priority is to be as transparent as possible with our LCUB natural gas customers. We do know that rates will be impacted by this pipeline rupture, because Enbridge, our natural gas supplier, is paying more to provide alternative sources,” said LCUB General Manager M. Shannon Littleton. “We cannot specify exactly what the rate increases will look like, because we have not been informed by Enbridge. We also do not know how long these rate increases will be in effect or if the rates will fluctuate over time depending upon the breadth of damage to the pipeline and the length of time it may take to repair it.” LCUB stressed that there are still many unknowns surrounding the rupture’s impact on its customers. Littleton said that LCUB will leverage the local media, LCUB social media platforms and the LCUB website to make announcements and keep consumers up-to-date on the situation as much as possible.

LCUB did mention that consumers can be proactive to help mitigate increases in their natural gas bill by keeping thermostats set to lower temperatures, minimizing use of gas fireplaces and gas stoves, and doing whatever possible to keep hot water usage to a minimum.