Damage Prevention Committee Actions Announced Against Underground Facility Owners, Excavators and Project Owners
Published on 4/30/2021
HARRISBURG – A total of 103 disciplinary actions, including $44,750 in administrative penalties, have been taken against 48 underground facility owners, excavators and project owners in the latest enforcement actions by the Public Utility Commission’s (PUC’s) Damage Prevention Committee (DPC). These actions were taken during the DPC’s April 2021 meeting.
The DPC is tasked with enforcing the state’s Underground Utility Line Protection Act – also known as the “PA One Call Law.” Penalties are payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Commission will offset the costs of administering this program through the penalties collected.
Digging Safety – PA One Call
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.
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.
About the DPC
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. Summaries and actions taken at monthly DPC meetings are available 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.”
About the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement
As the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the PUC, I&E enforces state and federal pipeline safety, electric safety and motor carrier safety laws and regulations and represents the public interest in ratemaking and service matters before the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge. I&E has the authority to bring enforcement action, seek emergency orders from the Commission or take other steps to ensure public safety.
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