UGI: Gas line replacement could take 40 years

March 15, 2011 11:59:59 AM PDT
The Pennsylvania utility company connected to last month's fatal natural gas explosion says it could take 40 years to replace the rest of its aging, cast-iron pipelines.

UGI Vice President Robert Beard told a state Senate panel on Tuesday that at its current pace the utility would need four decades to replace the old pipes, some of which are a century old.

Beard called the timeline "reasonable" but said the investigation into the February 9 blast could accelerate the utility's efforts.

Last month's explosion and fire rocked an Allentown neighborhood, killing five people including an elderly couple and a 4-month-old boy.

Officials suspect a cracked piece of cast-iron pipe is to blame for the blast. Beard says that pipe was not a candidate for "accelerated replacement."