Tuesday, April 30, 2019

PUC's PA One Call Enforcement Committee Imposes $57,775 In Penalties For Hitting Pipelines, Underground Utilities

On April 30, the Public Utility Commission announced the ‘PA One Call’ Damage Prevention Committee this month filed 77 disciplinary actions resulting in approximately $57,775 total fines against 37 facility owners, excavators and project owners.
Fines are payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Commission will offset the costs of administering this program through the fines collected.
Digging Safety – PA One Call
Every year, underground lines across the state are struck more than 6,000 times – which means that during the average workday a pipeline or other vital utility system is hit every 20 minutes.
While underground lines are often “out of sight and out of mind,” every hit poses a risk to the contractors and homeowners who are doing the digging; to utility workers and emergency responders who are mobilized when lines are struck; and to bystanders who live, work or travel near the locations of the incidents.
State law requires contractors and residents to contact PA One Call at least three business days prior to excavation – triggering alerts to all utilities within an intended digging area and prompting utilities to mark where their facilities are located.
Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776.
About the DPC
The DPC is part of the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, which also includes the Pipeline Safety Division.
Modeled after successful programs in other states, the focus of the committee is a reduction in the number of “hits” on underground utilities.
The DPC meets regularly to review alleged violations of the Act and makes determinations as to the appropriate response including, but not limited to, the issuance of warning letters or administrative penalties.
The committee holds public meetings in Hearing Room 1 of the Commonwealth Keystone Building, Harrisburg, and each of the meeting is livestreamed on the PUC’s website.
Creation of the committee was authorized by Act 50 of 2017, which enhances Pennsylvania’s Underground Utility Line Protection Act – also known as the “One Call Law.”
The next meeting of the Committee is May 14.
For more information, visit the PUC’s ‘PA One Call’ Damage Prevention Committee webpage.
(Photo: What happens when a backhoe hits a natural gas gathering line.)

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