A natural gas utility has agreed to pay a $1 million fine to Pennsylvania regulators to settle a whistle-blower’s allegations that it failed to adequately maintain and repair a high-pressure gas main, according to a report on Philly.com.
According to the settlement, a utility employee alerted federal pipeline regulators in May 2012 that UGI Penn Natural Gas had failed to properly repair a 10-inch-diameter gas main in a busy commercial area in Wilkes-Barre that was leaking dangerously, the article states.
The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration notified the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC’s) investigators of the whistle-blower’s allegations that “the gas company may be trying to cover up” the leak under Wilkes-Barre Township Boulevard.
“The PUC’s enforcement unit found that the utility understated the severity of the leak and that initial repairs failed because they were inadequate to contain the pipeline’s high pressure,” the article states. “The utility had not reduced pressure on the main after the leak was discovered.”
The PUC’s enforcement bureau alleged that UGI-PNG violated federal and state law by inadequately monitoring and repairing leaks, incorrectly classifying leaks, and inadequately documenting leak surveys, according to Philly.com.
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