NEW YORK – The State Public Service Commission has approved a plan to require New York State Electric and Gas Corporation to identify, detect, and remediate any natural gas leaks due to installation errors in Brewster. Those dealt with certain gas connections used to provide natural gas to some residences and businesses.
As a result of the commission investigation, it was determined that NYSEG’s improperly installed tapping tee caused an underground gas leak, which contributed to a residential fire and ultimately led to the complete destruction of a duplex residence at 2592 Carmel Avenue in Brewster in February 2022.
According to the commission’s investigation, NYSEG employees arrived on the scene where the residents’ ‘last best chance’ of discovering and remediating the natural gas leak before a fire began.
However, the utility’s employees failed to have proper equipment to effectively respond to the leak and wasted valuable time searching for working equipment.
The PSC also said NYSEG’s own policies and procedures were inadequate to ensure field staff have the necessary equipment while investigating leaks.
The commission also determined the tapping tee near the residence had been installed improperly and NYSEG had been previously made aware of the risks associated with improper installation of the devices.
As a result of the findings, the commission is considering whether a financial penalty should be rendered against the utility.
The PSC anticipated that in the future it may evaluate the allegations and consider imposing for each established violation a civil penalty of up to the greater of $250,000 or three 100ths of the annual intrastate gross operating revenue, or approximately $5 million.
The enforcement action remains pending.