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Press Release

PUC Approves Settlement Concerning Peoples Natural Gas Incident in Indiana County

Published on 5/9/2024

Filed under: Gas

Settlement Addresses 2020 Over-Pressure Incident in Indiana County that Damaged Home Appliances and Other Equipment

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted today to approve a settlement regarding the over-pressurization incident affecting the Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC (Peoples Natural Gas) distribution system in Robinson, Indiana County. The incident, which occurred on April 29, 2020, damaged both customer and utility-owned equipment.

The settlement, approved by the Commissioners by a vote of 5-0, includes a $250,000 civil penalty and addresses shortcomings identified by the PUC's independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement. These include failure to follow company procedures by technicians, insufficiently detailed training materials provided by Peoples Natural Gas, and possible design flaws in the regulator station.

Following the incident, Peoples Natural Gas replaced 11 furnaces, 70 water heaters, one range, 194 furnace valves, and 135 water tank valves. Additionally, approximately 4,552 feet of steel pipe and 133 service lines were replaced. Daily leak surveys were conducted for eight weeks until all leaking service lines were replaced.

As part of the settlement, Peoples Natural Gas will not attempt to recover the $250,000 civil penalty in any future rate case. The utility also incurred just over $305,000 in costs to replace damaged private property, which will also not be recovered in future rate cases.

Furthermore, the settlement requires the utility to review all regulator stations within its distribution system, prioritize improvement projects based on a risk model, and implement procedural and training enhancements to prevent future incidents.

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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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Docket No.: M-2023-3024990

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