The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has announced they are seeking a total of 180-thousand dollars in proposed penalties from Merrillville-based Northern Indiana Public Service Company and two other major gas utilities in the state, Citizens Gas and Vectren, for pipeline safety violations. The I-U-R-C says the companies failed to follow procedures and keep accurate maps and records of underground facilities, resulting in mislocating or not locating pipelines in accordance with the state's “Call Before You Dig” laws. IURC Chairman Jim Atterholt says a deadly gas pipeline explosion three years ago in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno, California, was a “tragic wake up call”.
NIPSCO issued a statement saying, "Public safety and the safety of our employees is a top priority, and we take that responsibility seriously.
"NIPSCO, along with every utility in the country, has an obligation to its customers to continually operate and maintain a safe energy infrastructure.
"NIPSCO has upgraded its systems and internal procedures to improve performance in responding to locate requests received throughout the year, and will continue to investigate and implement further measures to reduce pipeline damages.
"The additional action required by the Commission recognized the corrective steps already identified by NIPSCO," the company said.