Public Utilities Commission of Ohio fines Dominion Energy $1 million for pipeline explosion in Pepper Pike

Public Utilities Commission of Ohio fines Dominion Energy $1 million for pipeline explosion in Pepper Pike
Explosion at Shaker Boulevard and Brainard Road (Source: Dan Stamness)

PEPPER PIKE, Ohio (WOIO) - The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) fined Dominion Energy Ohio $1 million for failure to comply with Pipeline Safety Regulations requirements that caused or contributed to this incident for the gas line explosion that happened on Shaker Boulevard in Pepper Pike on Nov. 15, 2019.

PUCO said in the fine proposal report that this incident posed a serious danger to the public.

Given the destruction that it caused and the location, if this had happened during a period of high traffic, instead of at 1:00 a.m., the likelihood that someone would have been injured or killed would have been significantly higher.
New report by PUCO

PUCO states in the report they also believe Dominion Energy Ohio showed poor practices in regards to this incident and failed to follow any procedures.

Staff believes Dominion showed a lack of institutional control at the construction project located at Shaker Blvd. in Pepper Pike. Poor construction practices, failure to follow established procedures, and a lack of oversight all contributed to the weld failure and pipeline rupture. Staff further believes that the number of bad welds found at the site, Dominion’s previous enforcement history related to not following or enforcing procedures in the field, and poor documentation practices show that failures similar to the pipeline rupture in Pepper Pike may recur in the future if the factors that contributed to the rupture are not addressed.
New report released by PUCO

Here are the recommendations by PUCO to Dominion Energy Ohio.

  • Dominion has adequate programs, structures and incentives in place to maintain a culture of safety and regulatory compliance for Dominion’s employees and its contractors and the extent to which Dominion is responsive to employees or contractors bringing safety issues to management attention.
  • The training that Dominion provides to or requires of its employees and contractor personnel for compliance with its standards and procedures is appropriate and effective.
  • Dominion’s contracts with its contractors are structured to ensure that gas facilities are installed, repaired, or replaced properly, safely, and cost-effectively.
  • The methods Dominion employs to track and document work allow for auditing of such work for compliance by both Dominion and the Commission.
  • The methods Dominion employs to oversee new construction for compliance with Dominion standards and procedures in the field is adequate and effective.
  • Dominion has provided sufficient resources to its gas safety compliance program to adequately and effectively monitor its mandated safety activities and programs for compliance, whether these programs are implemented by Dominion employees or contractor employees.

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