Utility Infrastructure

US says cyberattacks against water supplies are rising, and utilities need to do more to stop them

Cyberattacks against water utilities across the country are becoming more frequent and more severe, the Environmental Protection Agency warned Monday as it issued an enforcement alert urging water systems to take immediate actions to protect the nation’s drinking water.

Hope Gas expands West Virginia reach with Consumers Gas Utility purchase

Hope Gas has finalized an agreement to acquire Consumers Gas Utility Company in West Virginia, pending approval from the state's Public Service Commission.

Core & Main to acquire EGW Utilities, enhancing underground utility offerings

Core & Main Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire EGW Utilities Inc., a distributor of quality products and services to underground utility contractors and municipalities, based in Texas.

California rejects bill to crack down on how utilities spend customers’ money

California lawmakers on Monday rejected a proposal aimed at cracking down on how some of the nation’s largest utilities spend customers’ money. The bill failed to pass a legislative committee for the second time in the face of intense opposition from utilities, including Pacific Gas & Electric.

Insights and trends: Latest developments in utility and communications construction

The beginning of 2024 is shaping up to be just as dynamic as we had expected going into the year. The election stage is set for November, the Federal Reserve is trying to thread the needle between fighting inflation and making the “soft landing,” and most distressing, we all witnessed a terrible tragedy in the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.

Judge orders Pennsylvania utility to release inspection records related to fatal natural gas explosion

Pennsylvania utility regulators must turn over inspection records to the National Transportation Safety Board as part of the federal agency’s probe into a fatal explosion at a chocolate factory last year, a federal judge ruled this week.

Georgia’s Cobb County proposes new stormwater management fee to tackle aging infrastructure

Cobb County is grappling with the challenges posed by aging infrastructure, prompting officials to consider innovative solutions. In response, they are suggesting the introduction of a stormwater utility fee, projected to range from $2 to $4 monthly for the average homeowner.

Fastwyre Broadband invests $65 million to upgrade fiber optic network in Eastern Nebraska

Fastwyre Broadband is making significant investments to upgrade its fiber-optic network in Eastern Nebraska, promising faster internet speeds and enhanced connectivity for underserved communities in the region.

Damage prevention and safety: Turning awareness into action

Surveys and studies reveal that professional excavators/contractors are highly aware of Common Ground Alliance’s (CGA) 811 initiative that requires they (as well as landscapers and homeowners) contact their state’s OneCall Center so underground utility lines are identified and marked before breaking ground.

Private utility wants to bypass Georgia county to connect water to new homes near Hyundai plant

Rep. Ron Stephens, a Savannah Republican, tells the Senate committee that state regulators' water limits on Bryan County's withdrawal from the Floridan aquifer, the region’s main water source, are hindering new home construction for Hyundai’s workforce, urging an expedited expansion of the county's water system.

CenterPoint Energy sells Louisiana, Mississippi natural gas assets for $1.2 billion

CenterPoint Energy Inc. has announced the sale of its Louisiana and Mississippi natural gas LDC businesses to Bernhard Capital Partners, a services and infrastructure-focused private equity management firm, for $1.2 billion.

Two fired utility execs and a former top Ohio regulator plead not guilty in bribery scheme

Former FirstEnergy CEO Chuck Jones, Senior Vice President Michael Dowling and Sam Randazzo, a former chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio who is also federally charged, were indicted by a Summit County grand jury Friday on a combined 27 criminal counts, including bribery, theft, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, tampering with records and money laundering.

NW Natural Water expands water utility presence in Oregon, Arizona

NW Natural Water Company LLC has expanded further in two states with the acquisitions of Hiland Water Corp.’s water utility business in Newberg, Oregon and Truxton Canyon Water Company and Cerbat Water Company near Kingman, Arizona.

White House renews calls on Congress to extend internet subsidy program

The White House is pressing Congress to extend a subsidy program that helps one in six U.S. families afford internet and represents a key element of President Joe Biden's promise to deliver reliable broadband service to every American household.

Mexico’s Supreme Court rules against electricity law favoring state-owned utility over private firms

A panel of Supreme Court justices in Mexico ruled Wednesday against President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s rules that favored the state-owned electrical power company over private power companies.

Chinese hackers are determined to 'wreak havoc' on US critical infrastructure, FBI director warns

Chinese government hackers are busily targeting water treatment plants, the electrical grid, transportation systems and other critical infrastructure inside the United States, FBI Director Chris Wray told House lawmakers Wednesday in a fresh warning from Washington about Beijing's global ambitions.

Proposed $4.3 billion merger of Avangrid, New Mexico utility abandoned

Officials with New Mexico's largest electric utility said Tuesday that a proposed multibillion-dollar merger with a U.S. subsidiary of global energy giant Iberdrola has been scuttled.

Regulators’ recommendation would mean 3% lower electric rates for New Mexico residential customers

Staff for New Mexico’s utility regulators have recommended new rates for the state’s largest electric provider that would result in about a 3% decrease for residential customers instead of the 9.7% increase Public Service Co. of New Mexico was seeking.

CGA publishes telecom white paper on preventing utility damage trends

(UI) — Based on research among telecommunications stakeholders, CGA’s new research points to the sector’s impact on the U.S. damage prevention system as a whole and recommends key actions telecom organizations can take to drive damages down.

Oregon power company to pay nearly $300 million to settle latest lawsuit over 2020 wildfires

Electricity utility PacifiCorp will pay $299 million to settle a lawsuit brought by about 220 customers who were harmed by devastating wildfires in southern Oregon in 2020.

Wisconsin's $42 million broadband infrastructure grant sees overwhelming demand

Gov. Tony Evers and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) have announced that the Wisconsin Broadband Office received 124 applications requesting $221.6 million for the Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program.

Illinois regulators slash gas utility rate hikes, halt controversial pipe-replacement program

(UI) — In a sweeping rebuff of four different utilities, Illinois regulators have sharply curtailed record rate hikes proposed for more than 4 million gas customers across the state, while also blocking most spending on a controversial pipe-replacement program that has fueled a heating affordability crisis for consumers in recent years.

New York Transco's $1.4 billion power line plan receives state nod

(UI) — New York Transco has received the green light from New York State's utilities regulator on Thursday for three transmission projects. As part of this comprehensive project, the developer plans to introduce three new underground cables linking Long Island to the broader state.

CGA’s GIS case study highlighting value in facility mapping information

(UI) — Common Ground Alliance (CGA) recently released a groundbreaking case study as part of its Next Practices Initiative titled “PILOT: Improving Efficiency and Reducing Damages by Providing Ticket-Level Visualizations of Underground Facilities to Designers, Locators and Excavators.”

CGA’s DIRT report correlates infrastructure investment with increased excavation damage

(UI) — Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national nonprofit trade association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them and their communities, recently announced the findings from its 2022 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT). It revealed concerning increases across key damage indicators.

USIC collaborates to align utility locating resources with BEAD program infrastructure deployment

(UI) — USIC announced that is collaborating with state broadband leaders and internet service providers to ensure the utility locating resources required to support nationwide broadband deployment funded by $42.45 billion in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program grants over the next five years.

Contractor killed in San Francisco trench collapse, prompts investigation

(UI) — A contractor in San Francisco's Lower Haight died on Sept. 28 after a trench beneath a sidewalk collapsed. While five workers managed to escape, one male worker became trapped under eight feet of dirt and debris.

West Virginia American Water completes $27 million acquisition of Jefferson Utilities

(UI) — West Virginia American Water has completed the acquisition of Jefferson Utilities, including the assets of Jefferson Utilities, Inc., Valley Water and Sewer Services, Shenandoah Junction Public Sewer and East Jefferson Sewer Services for $27 million.

California utilities commission approve underground natural gas storage increase at site of nation’s largest methane leak

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to permit underground storage of up to 68.6 billion cubic feet of gas at the vast Aliso Canyon field on the northern edge of Los Angeles County as a way to guard against fuel price spikes.

Houston and San Antonio face sewer, water struggles amid central US deadly heat wave

Deadly heat has gripped Texas for much of the summer and has now spread into other parts of the central U.S., where it is expected to persist for days. Triple-digit temperatures are buckling roads, straining water systems, and posing a threat to the power grid of the nation’s energy capital.