PUCO fines Dominion East Ohio $500,000 following investigation of Fairport Harbor fires, explosions

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has ordered Dominion East Ohio pay a $500,000 fine and take steps to ensure compliance with federal natural gas pipeline safety standards following last year's fires and explosions.

The fines stem from a PUCO investigation of a January 2011 series of fires in Fairport Harbor. In all, 11 homes were severely damaged and 150 homes required appliance repair or replacement, causing an estimated $1.3 million in property damage.

"The PUCO is committed to ensuring the safety of consumers," said Chairman Todd Snitchler. "By requiring operators of gas pipelines to comply with pipeline safety law, the PUCO seeks to ensure that pipeline operators take all reasonable steps to provide necessary safeguards. (This) order represents just the second time this Commission has rendered a fine of this magnitude further emphasizing the PUCO's position in these matters and we fully expect Dominion's compliance to prevent a future event of this nature."

In its investigation, the PUCO staff found that Dominion East Ohio violated several sections of the Code of Federal Regulations, as well as provisions of the company's standard operating procedures and guidelines.

Dominion must pay the $500,000 fine to the Ohio General Revenue Fund within 10 business days.

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