Call Before You Dig Monitoring and Enforcement
The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, through its Gas Pipeline Safety Unit, monitors excavator performance, and the mark out and follow-up actions of underground facility owners. Using a sophisticated computerized data base, the Gas Pipeline Safety Unit tracks activity and oversees the process.
The number of damages per one thousand locate requests are shown in the following chart.
The causes of damage to utility facilities are shown in the following pie chart.
The Gas Pipeline Safety Unit enforces the requirements, imposing mandatory training and assessing civil penalties when appropriate. While compliance is the ultimate objective, civil penalties are sometimes necessary to ensure compliance. The maximum penalty for EACH violation (a damage incident may involve more than 1 violation) is $40,000. The total fines assessed by year are shown below.
PURA Enforcement Process
Any time a utility facility is damaged, or the utility discovers a violation of the CBYD regulations, the utility is required to file a report of the damage or violation with PURA. At PURA, each damage and violation is reviewed and appropriate actions taken. Section 16-345-9(b) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, establishes the criteria to be used in determining whether or not to assess a civil penalty and the amount of penalty to be assessed. The criteria are: the degree of threat to public safety, the degree of public inconvenience, the number and nature of prior violations, prior civil penalties, the nature and severity of the violation, the amount of damage caused to the utility facility, compliance with other provisions of the regulations, good faith efforts of the party to be in compliance, and plans and procedures to avoid damages in the future.
Violators, who are alleged to have not called CBYD prior to excavating, if they have no history of prior violations, are usually given the opportunity to avoid civil penalty if they attend a CBYD training session.
Violators who cause an incident that does not have any significant adverse effects, who do not have any prior violations, are usually sent a letter advising them of the regulation they are said to have violated, and warning them about civil penalty risks if more incidents occur.
Violators who cause an incident and have received a prior warning will likely be assessed a civil penalty. A penalty letter is sent to the violator, and they have 30 days to pay the penalty or file an appeal. Appeals are heard on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. During an appeal, the party is given the opportunity to present any evidence they wish. PURA Staff will hear the appeal, and issue a written decision. That decision can then be appealed to the PURA, where a Docket will be created to hear the case, the case will be argued before a panel of Commissioners who will make the final determination. Any civil penalty assessed may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment of the superior court.
Civil Penalties Assessed
Content last updated April 2020