Washington state regulators said Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has agreed to pay a $275,000 penalty to settle a natural gas safety complaint lodged against the Bellevue, WA-based combination utility last year regarding a pipeline leak, explosion and house fire in North Seattle in 2011. TheWashington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC) alleged that PSE violated certain gas safety rules when it responded to reports of gas leaks in the Pinehurst neighborhood of Seattle two years ago. An explosion and fire subsequently destroyed a home and injured two people. Under the settlement, PSE admits there were violations and agreed to pay the penalty. The utility is not allowed to pass on the cost of the fine in the retail rates it charges customers. The WUTC staff found the cause of the leaks late last year and recommended a $400,000 penalty (see Daily GPI,Dec. 28, 2012).
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