HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is seeking nominations for individuals to serve on the PUC’s Damage Prevention Committee (DPC), which is a key element of new PUC efforts to safeguard underground utilities across the state.
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” – which will be enforced by the PUC. The DPC will meet regularly to review alleged violations of the Act and make determinations as to the appropriate response including, but not limited to, the issuance of warning letters or administrative penalties.
Modeled after successful programs in other states, the focus of the committee – and the broader PUC enforcement provisions of the One Call Law – is a reduction in the number of “hits” on underground utilities. There are approximately 6,000 hits per year reported on underground lines across the state, each resulting in added risks to contractors, utility workers and bystanders. The goal of the PUC’s enforcement program is to cut the number of incidents by 50% over the next five years.
In accordance with Act 50, membership on the DPC is comprised of a spectrum of organizations, including: non-municipal owned or affiliated facility owner industries, such as the electric, natural gas or petroleum pipelines, telephone, water or wastewater and cable television industries; excavators; municipal governments; and municipal authorities. Appointments to the DPC will begin in 2018.
DPC nominations will be accepted until January 19, 2018. Nomination forms and instructions are available on the PUC website.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
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