Has your background in natural gas pipeline infrastructure and operations prepared you to provide engineering and analytical safety expertise? Have you completed the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Training and Qualification course work? Do you have a passion for facility inspections, record review and incident investigations? If so, the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) wants to hear from you!
Follow this passion, and become a member of the PUC’s Pipeline Safety Program. The objective of this program is to prevent natural gas pipeline incidents and failures through safety inspections, enforcement, and education programs.
Celebrating over 100 years of history, the work of the PUC impacts every household throughout the state. The PUC is responsible for just pricing by of Oregon's investor-owned electric, natural gas, and telephone utilities, as well as select water companies via rate regulation. The PUC also enforces electric and natural gas safety standards and handles utility-related dispute resolution on behalf of Oregon residents. We play an integral part in creating and maintaining a fair and transparent regulatory environment that ensures safe, reliable, and efficient utility services at fair and reasonable rates for consumers. The PUC is funded by assessment of the regulated natural gas, electric, telecommunication, and water utilities.
The agency’s mission is to ensure Oregon utility customers have access to safe, reliable, and high quality utility services at just and reasonable rates. This is done through robust analysis and independent decision-making conducted in an open and fair process. The PUC offices are located in downtown Salem, in close proximity to the State Capitol, and PUC maintains a Portland satellite office. With supervisor approval, employees living in the Portland metro area may be granted flexibility to work on-site at the satellite office with weekly travel to Salem for meetings and other Commission proceedings. (NOTE: Currently most PUC employees are working remotely to assist in reducing COVID-19 in Oregon. The target date for employees to return to the workplace is September 2021, pending future statewide guidance from the Governor and public health professionals.)
The PUC prides itself in being a great place to have a career. As a mid-size State of Oregon agency, the PUC provides opportunity for employees to get to know each other in a friendly environment. As a State of Oregon agency, we offer:
Benefit plans that pay up to 99 percent of the premium for health-related coverage of employees and dependents
Membership in the Public Employee Retirement System retirement plan
Eleven (11) paid holidays per year; 24 hours of personal leave per year; vacation leave earned at a minimum rate of 8 hours per month and sick leave earned at a rate of 8 hours per month; and many other benefits.
More information about the Oregon Public Utility Commission can be found online at: www.oregon.gov/PUC
What’s in it for you:
Working at the PUC, you will be at the right place at the right time. You will be a member of a nationally recognized and respected Pipeline Safety Program. The work is extremely important in keeping neighborhoods safe from natural gas pipeline incidents and failures. You will also have the opportunity to work with an incredible group of professionals in the Utility Safety, Security, and Reliability Division.
You also get to work in Oregon, which is a beautiful, large, and amazing state! In Oregon, there are approximately 825 miles of transmission pipeline and 26,853 miles of distribution main pipeline under PUC jurisdiction. You will get to see and work in a state with great geographic diversity.
What you will do as a Pipeline Safety Analyst:
You will enforce natural gas pipeline safety programs per ORS 757.039, OAR 860-024, OAR 860-028, OAR 860-031, OAR 952-000, and related US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) regulations. Specifically, you will provide engineering or analytical expertise, relative to your level of PHMSA certification and training, to the agency's pipeline safety program, with emphasis on inspecting and documenting natural gas operators' compliance with requirements set by statute, rule, and federal code.
This program is partially funded through a federal grant and is audited annually by the US Department of Transportation for compliance with federal code. The PUC has statutory authority to levy civil penalties against operators who fail to comply with safety regulations.
Major duties include:
Facility Inspection, Records Review & Incident Investigation:
The person in this position conducts official audits of intrastate natural gas pipeline operators, related storage, facilities, and infrastructure. Audit activity includes inspection of operator processes, procedures, and records to ensure compliance with standards set forth in ORS 757.039, Unites States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration, and the Oregon PUC’s rules, orders and stipulated agreements governing pipeline safety. These activities include but are not limited to:
Examines operator’s procedures, training programs, methods, and records that verify the operator’s general code compliance.
Examines the following specific programs for compliance and evaluation of the effectiveness of the program: Operator Qualification, Damage Prevention, Public Awareness, Integrity Management, Drug and Alcohol, and Natural Gas Storage.
Performs field inspections of operator’s facilities and operator’s work practices. Operator facilities may be along roadways, in residential areas or remote areas of the state. Typical areas of inspection may include operations and maintenance of pressure control and regulating stations, relief devices, exposed main and service pipelines, liquefied natural gas, and other storage facilities, odorizers, corrosion protection systems, compressors, system valves, residential metering, commercial and industrial meters.
Compares what is observed in the field is consistent with the operator’s procedures and policies.
Examines operator as-built information, construction methods, and records. Facility inspection may include maintenance records, materials testing, review of x-rays of welds, and if construction and maintenance methods are in compliance with standards and best practices.
Conducts training to educate operators regarding state and federal regulations.
Identifies proper code for probable violations found.
Ensures inspection documentation is recorded in electronic records for tracking.
Monitors and responds to reports of natural gas pipeline accidents and incidents as reported by pipeline operators in compliance with OAR 860-024-0050. This requires application of independent judgment to determine an appropriate response.
Conducts investigations of incidents, which may include contact with facility operators and members of the public, to determine possible violations of PUC and/or PHMSA regulations.
Interacts, in a coordinated manner, with public officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), PHMSA personnel, Oregon – OSHA, State Fire Marshal, State Police, and local first responders, during an inspection or investigation of an incident.
Analysis, Documentation and Report Writing:
Prepares formal written reports that document probable violations.
Reports include recommendations on how to correct identified probable violations. These recommendations may be based on standard recommendations from the code or may be based on incumbent’s technical analysis.
Ensures all records, documents, and reports are based on observed facts specifically related to Oregon Revised Statutes, Administrative Rules, and Federal codes.
Ensures all records, documents, and reports comply with professional writing standards.
Following an incident investigation, determines preventive measures to eliminate or reduce possible recurrence of similar incidents.
Writes reports, correspondence, testimony, and creates exhibits for enforcement of state and federal regulations. May be called upon to defend these under cross-examination in formal proceedings.
Investigates incidents and complaints related to Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC) Rules that govern prevention of damages to underground facilities.
Conducts training and performs other miscellaneous duties in support of the OUNC to build the awareness of Oregon’s “Call Before You Dig” laws and rules. These activities target Oregon utility operators, contractors, and members of the public.
Provide information and technical assistance to PUC staff/management external to the Safety Division, other state and local agencies, and outside parties regarding state and federal regulations governing pipeline safety.
Collaborates with PUC Department of Justice Attorneys, to provide subject matter expertise on stipulations regarding compliance violations or drafted Commission orders.
Represents PUC Pipeline Safety Program on committees, and at conferences, company safety meetings, workshops, etc. to promote utility safety.
Develop and deliver safety presentations to utility companies, associations, and members of the public.
Investigates complaints received by the Commission concerning gas utility safety, operation and maintenance, and other technical issues. This may require speaking with the public, discussion with facility operators, field inspections of facilities, review of records, etc.
Advises Consumer Services staff on complex technical questions related to matters of gas safety and operations.
Attends PHMSA training activities to maintain expertise and technical competence needed to effectively enforce regulations.
Maintains competence in utility operating best practices, and utility industry standards through independent study, directed coursework, peer and industry interaction.
Provides subject matter expertise to other PUC Utility Analysts’ regarding safety, engineering, operation, and maintenance matters pertaining to natural gas utilities and jurisdictional operators.
As directed by the Division Administrator, supports the agency in emergency response activities.
Other projects and miscellaneous duties as assigned by the Chief of Pipeline Safety or Division Administrator.
What we are looking for:
An engineering professional with a Bachelor’s Degree in a field of engineering and four years of professional-level experience in pipeline infrastructure, operations, and safety.
Seven years of work experience in pipeline infrastructure, operations, and safety programs; four of which must be at the professional level.
A Master’s degree in engineering will substitute for one year of the professional level work experience.
A Doctorate in engineering will substitute for two years of the professional level work experience.
The most competitive candidates will possess the following requested background, skills, and experience:
Recent completion of Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Training and Qualification (TQ) course work.
Professional-level work experience assessing natural gas pipeline infrastructure and storage safety systems.
Work experience managing pipeline integrity, safety system programs, operations or maintenance activities.
Work experience with Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS), Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR), and related US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) regulations.
Work experience conducting field audits, inspections, exit briefings or operator training.
Work experience gathering, interpreting and applying USDOT, ORS and OAR pipeline safety regulations.
Work experience, or PHMSA TQ and workshops that have provided opportunity to present and advance pipeline safety initiatives to individuals or groups who may not have a strong operation and technical background.
Work experience interacting with different levels of utility management in a diplomatic and respectful manner to resolve technical issues.
Work experience developing written comments and delivering verbal recommendations, or proposals to inform and influence the decision makers of an organization.
Work experience where the position required working with a variety of stakeholders including other public officials, natural gas pipeline personnel and members of the public.
Work experience where tasks involve remote locations, highly populated cities, environmentally sensitive areas or industrial and commercial processing facilities.
Professional-level work experience leading or managing technical projects.