PUC Approves Gas Explosion Settlement with UGI Utilities, Inc. – Gas Division
Published on 10/29/2020
Filed under: Gas
Extensive Safety and Training Enhancements Required Following PUC Investigation of
Deadly 2017 Explosion in Millersville, Lancaster County
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a Joint Petition for Approval of Settlement with UGI Utilities, Inc. – Gas Division (UGI) that includes new gas safety enhancements, the opening of a new company emergency response training center and a $1.1 million civil penalty.
The settlement was reached as part of an investigation into a 2017 natural gas-fueled explosion that resulted in one fatal injury to an UGI employee, non-life-threatening injuries to three other individuals, and approximately $2.2 million in damage to the surrounding properties on the Springdale Farms residential development in Millersville, Lancaster County.
As the result of this PUC settlement, UGI will spend more than $50 million on safety enhancements, infrastructure replacement and additional training – all focused on preventing future incidents.
The Commission voted 4-0 to approve the settlement - filed on September 1, 2020, by the Commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement (I&E) and UGI, with respect to a Formal Complaint filed by I&E against UGI on October 4, 2018. In addition to the new training center and civil penalty, the settlement contains certain gas safety enhancements, including:
- Enhanced emergency response training for UGI personnel and contractors on changes related to the company’s General Operations Manual (GOM), Emergency Plan and Incident Command Structure;
- Clarified dispatch procedures and new employee training in the “Make Safe” and emergency Pennsylvania One Call requirements incorporated into the GOM;
- Ensured availability of UGI’s “One Call” Operations and Engineering Personnel for emergency response;
- Continued acceleration of UGI’s Mechanical Tapping Tees remediation activities, as part of its Distribution Integrity Management Program;
- Improved ability to identify valves and isolate gas flow during hazardous leak events;
- Improved procedures concerning first responders’ authority to shut valves and curtail electricity in appropriate circumstances during an emergency;
- Enhanced safety perimeters during Abnormal Operating Conditions, based on best practices using operating pressure and size of pipe to determine the size of the perimeter; and
- Assessment of current procedures, and possible modifications of procedures, for managing atmospheric gas found in a structure and potentially removing gas meters when atmospheric gas is detected.
The complaint filed by I&E alleged that UGI failed to follow its internal, written procedures on July 2, 2017 and the company’s procedures in place at the time of the explosion were deficient, especially in recognizing and managing an underground blowing gas situation.
UGI provides service to approximately 650,000 residents and businesses in 45 counties across Pennsylvania.
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Docket No.: C-2018-3005151
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