ThePublic Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO)has fined Columbia Gas of Ohio $200,000 for a March 2015 home explosion in Upper Arlington, a suburb of the state capitol Columbus. Under an agreement reached with regulators, the company must also take steps to improve record keeping and enhance safety outreach throughout its service territory. A PUCO investigation revealed that an old natural gas service line leading to the home was replaced, but it was not properly disconnected from Columbia’s main line. A curb valve to the old line was misidentified as a water valve and when it was turned on, gas flowed into the house and ignited. While various parties were involved in causing the accident, PUCO staff concluded that Columbia did not follow its operating procedures to properly abandon an old service line. PUCO said the explosion caused an estimated $9 million in property damage. The company must pay the fine to the state’s general revenue fund and hold an additional $200,000 in abeyance should it fail to fulfill its obligations under the agreement.
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