Master meter system is defined in Part 191 as a small pipeline system that distributes natural gas (or propane) within an area, such as a mobile home park, housing project, or apartment complex, where the operator of the master meter system purchases gas from an LDC (local distribution company), through a single large meter and resells the gas through a gas distribution pipeline system. The gas distribution pipeline system supplies the ultimate consumer. The ultimate consumer is the customer who has control of the gas, such as through a water heater or range. The ultimate consumer either purchases the gas directly through a house meter or by other means, such as a lease or rent (all utilities paid).
Operator is a person who engages in the transportation of gas. The inspection authority of OPS and the state pipeline safety programs recognize the operator as being ultimately responsible for compliance with Part 192. Pipelines can be owned or leased by multiple partners or companies, so the operator is not necessarily the owner of the pipeline. However, the company that operates it has the responsibility for compliance with Part 192.
Regulated Master Meter Systems:
This is a regulated master meter system because the piping and meters at each building, in brown are owned and operated by the master meter operator to distribute gas from the local distribution company.
In this situation, there are no separate meters for individual tenants who were charged a flat rate. Under this condition, the mains and service lines downstream of the master meter are considered to be a distribution system subject to the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, and the landlord of the mobile home park is considered an operator under the gas pipeline safety regulations.
Mains and service lines downstream if the master meter are considered to be a distribution system subject to the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, and that the housing authority or the mobile home park landlord is an operator within the meaning of Part 192.
Those characteristics are first, the existence of underground or exterior piping serving multiple buildings and, second, the transfer (sale) of gas (metered or unmetered) from the master meter system operator to the ultimate gas consumers (tenants) for use in the consumers' appliances
Non-Regulated Master Meter Systems:
If, on the other hand, the natural gas is used by an apartment complex to heat water in a boiler which is then distributed to each individual apartment, the customer does not have control of the gas. In this situation, the apartment complex would not be considered a master meter distribution system.