System integrity is defined as the state in which a natural gas distribution system is performing its overall intended function of distributing energy to all customers without being degraded or impaired by its internal
or external environment safely and effectively. Systems that exhibit excellence in system management have adopted policies and procedures for records management, emergency preparedness, regulatory compliance and system management.
Natural gas distribution systems keep themselves well maintained through both
new technology integration and a commitment
to system improvement programs.
Distribution technology has changed significantly over the past 25 years with rapid advances in SCADA/telemetry, Geographic Information System (GIS) / digital mapping,
and Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) / Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
as well as new market opportunities like natural gas vehicles. Systems that exhibit excellence in system improvement involve supporting research and development of new technologies for operations and gas end-use, infrastructure modernization through capital improvement programs and targeted replacement of obsolete portions of the distribution system.
Employee injury prevention and employee safety education are core components
of a safety program that is utility-wide
and evident in all aspects of utility operations, including work performed by contractors. Systems that exhibit excellence in employee safety include adopting a safety program
that includes policies and procedures for education involvement and accountability
for all employees, as well as tracking
Creative recruitment, training, education,
and development practices provide a return
on investment through increased employee loyalty, motivation, safety and productivity.
Systems that exhibit excellence in workforce development emphasize continuing education, certification and training; encourage participation in outside organizations such
as state, regional and national trade and professional associations; and have a
well thought out succession planning
and recruitment program.