Notice

Nominations Sought for Damage Prevention Committee by Oct. 25

September 24th, 2019

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reminds stakeholders and concerned citizens across the state about the search for individuals to serve on the PUC’s Damage Prevention Committee (DPC), which is a key element of enhanced efforts to safeguard underground utilities.

The DPC is seeking candidates for three industry categories:

  • Non-municipally owned or affiliated facility owner industries – including water and wastewater – nominated by facility owners or affiliated organizations (one position),
  • Excavators – nominated by excavators or affiliated organizations (one position); and
  • Municipal government – nominated by municipal governments or affiliated organizations (one position).
Nominations will be accepted until Oct. 25, 2019 and new DPC appointees will begin their three-year terms in 2020. Nomination forms and instructions are available on the PUC website. 

Creation of the committee was authorized by Act 50 of 2017, which enhances Pennsylvania’s Underground Utility Line Protection Act – also known as the “One Call Law.”
In accordance with Act 50, membership on the DPC includes: non-municipal owned or affiliated facility owner industries, such as the electric, natural gas or petroleum pipelines, telephone, water or wastewater and cable television industries; excavators; municipal governments; and municipal authorities.

About the DPC
The DPC is part of the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement, which also includes the Pipeline Safety Division.

Modeled after successful programs in other states, the focus of the committee is a reduction in the number of “hits” on underground utilities.

The DPC meets regularly to review alleged violations of the Act and makes determinations as to the appropriate response including, but not limited to, the issuance of warning letters or administrative penalties. The committee holds public meetings in Hearing Room 1 of the Commonwealth Keystone Building, Harrisburg, and each meeting is livestreamed on the PUC’s website, and summaries of actions taken at those meeting also are posted online.

Digging Safety – PA One Call
Every year, underground lines across the state are struck more than 6,000 times – which means that during the average workday a pipeline or other vital utility system is hit every 20 minutes. While underground lines are often “out of sight and out of mind,” every hit poses a risk to the contractors and homeowners who are doing the digging; to utility workers and emergency responders who are mobilized when lines are struck; and to bystanders who live, work or travel near the locations of the incidents. 

State law requires contractors and residents to contact PA One Call at least three business days prior to excavation – triggering alerts to all utilities within an intended digging area and prompting utilities to mark where their facilities are located. Pennsylvanians can dial 8-1-1 to connect with the One Call system, while out-of-state residents or businesses can call 1-800-242-1776.

About the Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement
As the independent investigation and enforcement bureau of the PUC, I&E enforces state and federal pipeline safety and motor carrier safety laws and regulations and represents the public interest in ratemaking and service matters before the PUC’s Office of Administrative Law Judge.  I&E has the authority to bring enforcement action, seek emergency orders from the Commission or take other steps to ensure public safety.