PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Public Utility Commission has approved a revised settlement totaling nearly $1 million with a gas utility over a 2019 explosion in western Pennsylvania that reduced a home to rubble and injured five people.
Canonsburg-based Columbia Gas took responsibility for the July 2019 blast in North Franklin Township, saying it had failed to install a key piece of equipment in the home while workers nearby upgraded a gas main.
Officials said the home lacked a pressure regulator, and when the new system was engaged there was a leak that led to the explosion.
The homeowner, a neighbor and three firefighters were hurt in the blast, which also damaged cars and nearby homes. Columbia’s insurance company earlier paid out more than $3 million to cover the damage, with $2 million to cover the property damage and another $1 million for personal injury and emotional distress.
Commissioners in December had rejected an earlier proposed settlement reached by commission staff with the utility, saying they wanted more information about the extent and cost of damage and about how the company had remedied deficiencies identified during this and other incidents.
On Thursday, the commission unanimously approved the revised settlement, which carries a $990,000 civil penalty that the utility cannot recover from ratepayers. The settlement also lays out corrective actions such as enhanced training and ways to identify and map system infrastructure and customer service lines, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.