Harrisburg, June 13, 2012 – Calling it a justifiably tough response to serious infractions, State Senators Patrick Browne and Lisa Boscola today praised the Public Utility Commission’s (PUC) complaint against U.G.I. Corporation for safety violations that resulted in a deadly gas line explosion last year.
In its complaint following a 16-month investigation, the PUC has proposed a $386,000 fine and would mandate that UGI replace all of its cast-iron pipeline in Allentown within 10 years and all bare-steel pipe within 13 years. The PUC complaint specifically states that the company is not permitted to recover any of the fine money from its ratepayers.
“I am pleased with the PUC’s stringent response to this tragedy and hopeful that UGI will respond by putting more urgency into replacing its aging infrastructure to avert any additional disasters and service outages,” Boscola said.
Browne added, “The legislature has already provided utility companies with the means to recoup their costs on this overdue infrastructure replacement work. I am hopeful this PUC complaint will underscore the importance of utility companies stepping up their efforts.”
In its formal complaint issued Monday, the PUC found the utility company in violation on several counts ranging from failing to survey and maintain its facilities to failure to comply with its own emergency procedures. In addition to the fine and mandated pipeline replacement schedule, UGI was ordered to more actively test and monitor odorant levels and its distribution piping.
On May 24, Browne and Boscola sent a joint letter to PUC commissioners asking for the tough response, including calls for a mandated pipeline replacement schedule for Allentown. In their letter, the lawmakers accused UGI of ignoring their past requests for action and providing “misinformation and delay tactics.” During a previously scheduled meeting yesterday with PUC Commissioner Wayne Gardner, Boscola also discussed the process and “next steps” to be followed after the filing of the agency’s staff complaint against UGI.
UGI has 20 days to respond to the PUC complaint. Boscola and Browne said they will continue to closely monitor the status of the complaint and UGI’s response.
Lesley Darrin (Sen. Browne’s office)
PHONE: (717) 787-1349
Kurt Derr (Sen. Boscola’s office)
PHONE: (610) 868-8667