Monday, December 30, 2019

PUC PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee Imposes $124,725 In Penalties

On December 30, the PUC's PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee announced it had imposed a total of 214 disciplinary actions, including $124,725 in administrative penalties, against 93 underground facility owners, excavators and project owners in the latest enforcement actions.
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.
The DPC is a peer-based group of 13 representatives, nominated by their industry or affiliated organization and appointed by the PUC.
The DPC meets regularly to review alleged violations of Act 50 and make informal determinations as to the appropriate response including, but not limited to, the issuance of warning letters, mandatory training programs and/or administrative penalties. 
The DPC holds public meetings in Hearing Room 1 of the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg. Each meeting is livestreamed on the PUC’s website where summaries of actions taken at those meetings also can be viewed.
Modeled after successful programs in other states, the focus of the DPC is to reduce the number of “hits” on underground lines and utilities.
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.” 
Visit the PUC’s PA One Call Damage Prevention Committee webpage for more information.
(Photo: What happens when a backhoe hits a natural gas gathering line.)
[Posted: December 30, 2019]

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