Amendment highlights to the Underground Utility Line Protection Law which take effect April 28, 2018 and what it means to you.
Administratively, the duties of the PA One Call are being transferred from the Department of Labor and Industry to the Public Utility Commission (PUC). There will also be changes to the way violations are handled.
Enforcement by the PUC will entail investigating alleged violations by a Damage Prevention Investigator and the formation of a Damage Prevention Committee. The Damage Prevention Investigator will present findings and recommendations to the Damage Prevention Committee if it is determined that a violation occurred. The Committee can issue a warning, require the person to attend training, or issue an “informal determination” to modify or dismiss a recommendation/impose a penalty.
Tiered Maximum Penalties:
- Repair - up to $5,000/violation if repair is less than $3,000; up to $10,000/violation if repair is greater than $3,000; up to $50,000 with injury, death or property damage greater than $25,000;
- Administrative - penalties for repeat offenders, and tiered maximum limits ($1,000, $5,000 or $10,000) based on personal injury or property damage assessment.
Appeals will be referred to the PUC’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement as a “formal complaint.”
The Bill includes several new definitions many of which are aimed at the natural resources extraction
industries (natural gas, pipeline, and oil and gas well issues), excepting surface mining and coal mining.
Duties and requirements of Facility Owners:
- Participate in the One Call System’s Members Mapping Solutions, requirements to be determined.
- Communicate directly with excavator within two hours after re-notification when Facility Owner failed to respond to a location request.
- Submit reports of alleged violations to PUC within 30 business days if cost to repair is greater than $2,500.
- Maintain existing records of abandoned “main” lines and locate, if possible.
Duties of Designers:
- Report violations to PUC within 30 business days.
- Paying a “request fee” (annual) to the One Call System.
Duties of Excavators:
- Report if facilities lines are struck or damaged.
- Requesting facility location before excavation and paying a locate request fee (annual).
- Re-notifying if a facility is unmarked or incorrectly marked.
Duty of Project Owner:
- Provide report within 10 business days if owner believes a violation (line damage) occurred.