HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today issued for public comment a settlement with Columbia Gas for $50,000 that ends an informal investigation into a gas explosion that injured two children in Moon Township, Allegheny County.
The settlement agreement, reached between the PUC’s prosecutory staff and Columbia Gas, followed an informal investigation of a March 16, 2005, gas explosion at 107 Bertley Ridge Drive in Moon Township. The explosion destroyed the house and injured two children, who were home at the time. The cause of the explosion was damage to a natural gas line that occurred due to construction outside the residence. The damage caused natural gas to leak from the gas line and blow into the environment.
Under the settlement, Columbia Gas agreed to develop and implement a Gas Awareness and Safety Program for middle school and latchkey children, revise its Incident Management Plan, install an emergency shutoff valve in the Bertley Ridge Drive vicinity, perform a system-wide engineering study to determine whether other sites exist that require emergency valve installation, create a written test for their Incident Management Training and review and modify its Damage Prevention Program. The costs of establishing these programs would be subtracted from the $50,000 penalty, according to the settlement.
The position of PUC’s prosecutory staff is that Columbia Gas violated provisions of the Public Utility Code. Columbia Gas denies that assertion.
Interested parties have 20 days to comment. If no comments are filed, the order becomes final with no further Commission action.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities to ensure safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protect the public interest; educate consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; further economic development; and foster new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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Docket No. M-00062006