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Public Service Commission to hold natural gas safety events in five cities across Kentucky during October

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) is holding events across Kentucky next month to demonstrate how to avoid natural gas lines during excavation and the consequences of failing to do so.

Contractors who do excavation, emergency responders, and natural gas system operators are encouraged to attend one of the five “mock line strike” events. Energy Technologies, LLC, or Enertech, will conduct the demonstrations.

The demonstrations are free and open to all interested parties. Advance registration is recommended.

Mock line strike events will be held every Thursday in October. The dates and locations are:

Oct. 3 – Bowling Green – Beech Bend Park – 798 Beech Bend Park Road

Oct. 10 – Prestonsburg – Jenny Wiley State Resort Park – 75 Theatre Court

Oct. 17 – Winchester – William N. Shelton Exposition Building, Clark County Fairgrounds – 4980 Ironworks Road

Oct. 24 – Louisville – Kentucky Regional Fire Training Academy – 11605 Fairmount Road

Oct. 31 – Burlington – KCTCS Area 7 State Fire Rescue Training – 3025 Conrad Lane

The events will begin with sign-in at 7:30 a.m. local time and conclude at 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

Registration is available at mocklinestrike.com.

Detailed information about the mock line strike events can be found at enertech.com.

The PSC is conducting the events as part of its efforts to reduce the frequency of excavation damage to natural gas pipelines. The PSC last year took over enforcement of the state’s call-before-you-dig statute, commonly referred to as the 811 law, as it relates to natural gas or hazardous liquid lines.

Since assuming responsibility for enforcing the law on July 14, 2018, the PSC has received about 1,200 reports of excavation-caused damage to natural gas lines in Kentucky.

Investigations have been concluded in about half those incidents. Thus far, roughly three-fourths of investigations have resulted in imposition of a penalty on either the excavator or the natural gas system operator.

The PSC is using the penalties it collects to fund expanded outreach, training and education efforts aimed at excavators, pipeline operators, municipal utilities and the public.

Like every other state, Kentucky has a statewide 811 service that, by law, must be called at least two working days prior to beginning excavation. This advance notification is intended to allow ample time for utility lines to be located and marked so that excavation can proceed safely. Natural gas providers and hazardous liquid pipeline operators are required to provide the location of their lines to the 811 center.

Excavators, including homeowners, could be penalized for not calling 811, ignoring location markers or using improper excavation methods. Operators could be penalized for not responding to requests to locate lines or for improperly or inaccurately locating or marking underground facilities.

About 240 entities operate natural gas or hazardous liquid pipelines in Kentucky. They include local gas distribution companies fully regulated by the PSC and municipal natural gas providers and other entities, such as housing authorities, that are regulated by the PSC for safety only.

Penalties are up to $1,250 for a first violation, $2,000 for a second violation, and $4,000 for subsequent violations.

The PSC is an independent agency attached for administrative purposes to the Energy and Environment Cabinet. It regulates more than 1,100 gas, water, sewer, electric and telecommunication utilities operating in Kentucky.

From Kentucky Public Service Commission

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