State utility regulators want to fine UGI Utilities Inc. about $2.1 million in connection with a natural gas explosion that killed a worker and destroyed or damaged several homes last year in Millersville, Lancaster County, according to a complaint the agency filed Thursday.
UGI Utilities, based in Reading, has 20 days to respond to the complaint. If the company contests the fine, the matter would be heard by an administrative law judge.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission alleges that “UGI failed to follow its written, internal policies” and that its “procedures in place at the time of the explosion were deficient, especially in recognizing and managing an underground blowing gas situation.”
The complaint stems from a natural gas explosion that took place at 12:31 p.m. on July 2, 2017 at Springdale Farm, a residential development in Millersville. Three UGI workers were on the site at the time of the explosion. One worker died and two others sustained non-life threatening injuries, with one requiring hospitalization. A Lancaster Area Sewer Authority worker who was on the site also was injured and required hospitalization, the complaint said.
The explosion demolished the home at 206 Springdale Lane and caused severe damage to neighboring homes, according to the complaint. Property damage was estimated at $1.3 million.
The initial civil penalty was set at almost $4 million. However, that penalty exceeds the statutory maximum, according to the PUC complaint, which was filed by the agency’s bureau of investigation and enforcement. The requested total civil penalty is about $2.1 million.
In addition to levying a fine, the PUC is asking UGI to revise its policies and procedures, as well as to build a training facility for its workers, contractors, emergency responders and the public.
UGI issued the following statement:
“UGI Utilities has cooperated fully with the PUC throughout its investigation of this incident and will continue to do as we review the complaint and respond to the PUC within the specified timeframe.
“UGI Utilities remains fully committed to the safety of our customers, employees and residents of the many communities we serve.”
This story has been updated with correct requested total civil penalty of $2.1 million. The former penalty reported in the story and headline was incorrect.