Order 18687 - NE Gas: Notice of Probable Violations

 

STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS

DIVISION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS

89 JEFFERSON BOULEVARD

WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND 02888

 

IN RE:         Notices of Probable Violations

NOPV Nos. 05-4 and 05-5

New England Gas Company

 

Docket No. D-06-07

 

ORDER

 

Whereas: On January 18, 2006, the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (“Division”) issued two Notices of Probable Violations (“NOPV”) against the New England Gas Company (“NEGas”).

Whereas: The Division issued the NOPVs based upon conditions found and procedures observed during the course of an inspection.  The Division conducts such inspections to ensure compliance with Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations (CFR 49 Parts §§190-199).  NOPV No. 05-4 identified one distinct probable violation of the Division’s “Rules and Regulations Prescribing Standards for Gas Line Abandonment and Leakage Survey Procedures”. NOPV No. 05-5 identified seven distinct probable violations, each alleging a breach of compliance of a particular Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations provision.  On January 23, 2006, NEGas requested a formal evidentiary hearing on five of the seven probable violations related to NOPV No. 05-5.  In its January 23, 2006 response, NEGas indicated that it intended to pay the Division’s assessed fine of $1,000 related to NOPV No. 05-4, and the Division’s assessed fine of $10,000 related to NOPV No. 05-5 (1 of 7).   

Whereas: Before conducting a formal evidentiary hearing, with regard to the formal adjudication of the unresolved parts of NOPV No. 05-5, the Division conducted a pre-hearing conference on February 8, 2006.  The pre-hearing conference was conducted in conformance with the policies and goals set forth in Rule 20 of the Division’s “Rules of Practice and Procedure.”     The conference was held in the Division’s 2nd Floor Conference Room, located at 89 Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick.

Whereas:     At the pre-hearing conference the parties, consisting of NEGas and the Division’s Advocacy Section, requested a stay of the procedural schedule in order to discuss a possible settlement agreement with respect to the issues remaining in dispute.  The under-signed hearing officer granted that request, and instructed the parties to contact the hearing officer when either a settlement agreement had been reached or when either party believed a hearing on the merits was necessary.

Whereas:     A formal settlement agreement was subsequently executed between the parties on July 19, 2006 and formally submitted to the Division as a “settlement offer” pursuant to Rule 27 of the Division’s Rules of Practice and Procedure. The proposed  “Settlement Agreement” is attached to this order and incorporated by reference.

Whereas:  The Division has reviewed the proposed settlement agreement and finds the agreement to be in the public interest and a reasonable resolution to the NOPV matters currently in dispute.

Accordingly, it is

(18687) ORDERED:

The Division hereby approves and adopts the attached “Settlement Agreement” as a final disposition in this docket.

DATED AND EFFECTIVE AT WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND ON AUGUST 8, 2006.

                  

                            

_______________________________           

John Spirito, Jr., Esq.                                 

Hearing Officer

 

 

 

APPROVED: _____________________________

Thomas F. Ahern

Administrator

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Settlement Agreement

 

Click HERE for Agreement

 

 

Order 18687 - NE Gas: Notice of Probable Violations
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