For Immediate Release
Contact:  Matt Schilling
(614) 466 7750

PUCO deploys natural gas pipeline safety experts to Massachusetts

COLUMBUS, OHIO (Oct. 12, 2018) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today committed to providing natural gas pipeline safety experts to assist the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ oversight of natural gas service restoration in the wake of the Merrimack Valley natural gas incident last month.

“Ohio is pleased to lend a helping hand by providing qualified safety experts in a time of need,” stated PUCO Chairman Asim Z. Haque. “Ohio’s safety program routinely scores perfect ratings from the US Department of Transportation.”

Two PUCO natural gas pipeline safety inspectors will work under the direction of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) over a five-week period beginning October 14. The Massachusetts DPU is charged with overseeing the safe repair and restoration of natural gas service in the Merrimack Valley region. The local utility has committed to repairing or replacing nearly 55 miles of natural gas distribution infrastructure over the next six weeks.

On Sept. 13, 2018, a widespread natural gas outage occurred after an apparent over pressurization of the local natural gas distribution system in Merrimack Valley, affecting thousands.

The PUCO is committed to ensuring the safe, reliable and environmentally sound operation of Ohio's natural gas pipeline system. The PUCO oversees more than 56,000 miles of distribution lines, which provide natural gas to individual users, as well as more than 10,000 miles of transmission lines and over 1,100 miles of gathering lines. The PUCO’s natural gas pipeline safety program has routinely scored a perfect rating from the the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.

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