Peco fined $15K for 2013 Rosemont gas-main explosion

Peco has agreed to pay a $15,000 fine and improve its safety programs to settle a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission complaint stemming from a 2013 gas-main explosion at Rosemont College that  injured two workers operating a drill rig.

The PUC’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement sought a $315,000 penalty when it filed the case in 2015, in which it alleged that Peco had failed to follow its own procedures to prevent damage. The PUC unanimously approved the settlement Thursday.

Peco argued that Rosemont’s contractor had failed to notify the Pennsylvania One Call System of its plans before a subcontractor damaged a buried 4-inch-diameter plastic gas main while drilling to install a lamp post. The gas leak was ignited by the drill rig, causing “minor burns” to two workers who were treated and released from a hospital, according to the PUC.

The accident happened in August, when the campus was largely empty during the summer break. The gas main, which supplied Kistler Library and a dormitory, was relocated and replaced after the accident. 

In addition to the fine, Peco agreed to enhance its procedures to more proactively work with contractors on complex high-profile projects. The utility also agreed to implement a 12-month pilot program to address situations in which contractors have not notified the One Call System of their plans.

“This agreement acknowledges Peco’s steadfast commitment to safety and the company’s commitment to taking steps to help prevent similar events from occurring on the Peco natural gas system,” company spokesman Ben Armstrong said in a statement Thursday.

"This incident helped identify additional opportunities for Peco to expand its robust efforts to educate local contractors about safe digging practices," he said.

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