PUC OKs $5,000 Settlement With Peoples Natural Gas

September 2012, Vol. 239 No. 9

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission finalized a settlement with Peoples Natural Gas Co. over an informal investigation into an incident involving a contractor striking a public utility service line.

The settlement follows an investigation into a Jan. 5, 2010 incident which involved damage to a service line, owned by Dominion Peoples in Pittsburgh.

The PUC’s independent Prosecutory Staff alleged that Dominion Peoples violated PUC regulations and the state Public Utility Code by not being able to track communication with the contractor excavating the area of the service line. The contractor hit Peoples’ line during a house demolition causing a leak. Due to the contractor’s subsequent improper actions, a fire resulted. There were no injuries from the leak or fire.
Dominion Peoples will pay a $5,000 civil penalty and change its practices and procedures to ensure that service requests received by fax are entered into the company’s customer and billing information system when received and thereby are included in the service work queue. The civil penalty cannot be recovered from consumers, according to the settlement.

Peoples provides natural gas service to 360,000 homes in Mercer, Franklin, Lawrence, Beaver, Washington, Greene, Butler, Allegheny, Fayette, Westmoreland, Armstrong, Clarion, Indiana, Somerset, Cambria and Blair counties.