Maine regulators agree to trim Summit Natural Gas fine from $100K to $25K

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PORTLAND — Summit Natural Gas of Maine has agreed to pay one-fourth of a fine proposed by Maine Public Utilities Commission staff to resolve a charge that the company did not make sure its contractors and workers were qualified to perform some pipeline installation tasks.

Regulators had suggested a penalty of $100,000 for the training violations.

After conferring with the company, the parties reached an agreement that Summit would pay $25,000 and agree to other conditions to ensure its workers and contractors are certified for tasks like joining plastic pipes or inspecting plastic pipe joints.

The company has another three pending probable violation notices from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, with another $200,000 in suggested fines. Summit has requested meetings with regulators in each case.

Another probable violation found the company damaged sewer lines in 25 places and, in 26 cases, put natural gas pipelines too close to sewer or water lines. Regulators suggested a $150,000 fine in that case and have since required the company to verify that it did not damage sewer lines with trenchless drilling technology before it starts putting gas through its newly installed lines.

Separately, they suggested a $30,000 fine for not following proper procedures in fusing plastic pipes and $20,000 for improperly fusing butt joints.