"This goes beyond calls for concern; it is downright alarming. This history leads me to one inescapable conclusion: that UGI's management has failed to adequately focus on gas safety issues," said Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chairman Robert F. Powelson yesterday in announcing increased fines assessed against UGI stemming from the Allentown natural gas explosion that killed five and leveled half a block in February 2011, reports the Allentown Morning Call.
Powelson noted that UGI had been brought before the Commission eight times within a four year period for allegations of violating safety regulations. The original terms of the settlement called for a fine of $386,000 but was raised yesterday to the maximum of $500,000, with the Chairman adding that "key management changes" had been made by UGI since the blast, reports the Call.
"Other provisions of the initial settlement remain in place, including a pledge by UGI to replace all 451 miles of its aging, cast–iron pipes — the type of distribution line implicated in the blast — by 2027. The company would have to replace 1,313 miles of bare steel pipe by 2043, according to the story. Immediately after the fatal explosion, UGI officials said that under the company's existing replacement plan, it would take until 2051 to remove all the cast–iron pipes in its coverage area."
"The scene of the blast at 13th and Allen streets remains a vacant lot. There, just before 11 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2011, natural gas leaking from a cracked cast-iron distribution line exploded at 542 and 544 N.13th St., killing William Hall, 79, and his wife, Beatrice, 74; Ofelia A. Ben, 69; her granddaughter Katherine Cruz, 16; and Cruz's 4-month-old son, Matthew Vega", writes the Call.
To read more about this story and a link the the original Morning Call Article visit the AEC website at americanenergycoalition.org. And while there, please consider becoming an AEC Member Supporter by clicking on the "Make A Donation" button and making a secure online contribution.