Tuesday, September 22, 2020

PUC's Damage Prevention Committee Imposes $72,750 In Penalties For PA One Call Violations

On September 22, the PUC announced the
Damage Prevention Committee took a total of 26 disciplinary actions, including $72,750 in administrative penalties, have been taken against 57 underground facility owners, excavators and project owners.  

These actions were taken during the DPC’s September 2020 meeting. The DPC is tasked with enforcing the state’s Underground Utility Line Protection Act – also known as the “PA One Call Law.”

A comprehensive list of summaries and actions from DPC meetings is available on the PUC’s website. Penalties are payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Commission will offset the costs of administering this program through the penalties collected.

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. 

During the first half of 2020, a total of 2,617 line hits were reported to PA One Call, reduction of about 6 percent from last year, despite a near-record number of line-location calls.

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.

When the PUC first took on the role of enforcing the state’s One Call Law, underground lines across the state were struck more than 6,000 times per year – but the situation continues to steadily improve, thanks to education, public awareness and enforcement.

Visit the PUC’s PA One Call Enforcement webpage for more information.

(Photo: What happens when a backhoe hits a natural gas gathering line.)
[Posted: Sept. 22, 2020] 
PA Environment Digest

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