Environment
1:39 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

LG&E Cited for Gas Safety Violations

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has cited Louisville Gas & Electric for safety violations that led to a natural gas explosion in December. The explosion in South Louisville destroyed a house, and the PSC determined that there were problems with LG&E's emergency response. The company was also cited for violations related to gas line pressure in the system.

According to the PSC:

The specific violations found by PSC investigators were:

  • Not following proper safety procedures during an emergency response.
  • Failing to minimize the danger of a gas explosion by not checking for gas levels in all nearby homes and eliminating all possible ignition sources.
  • Operating a gas system in excess of the established maximum allowable operating pressure levels.
  • Not taking the required corrective actions when abnormal pressure levels are detected.

Each of the violations is tied to a specific provision in federal pipeline safety regulations.

The PSC has scheduled a hearing for November 27, and LG&E has 20 days to respond. I've contacted LG&E for a response, and will post it here when I hear back.

In an e-mailed statement, LG&E spokeswoman Chris Whelan says:

This was a horrible accident and we are thankful that no one was injured. At this time, we are reviewing the order and will work with the Kentucky Public Service Commission to address the findings of their investigation.

It is important to note that the Commission has not found that any of the alleged violations actually caused or contributed to this incident.  The fire marshal has concluded that the cause was accidental and brought on by a water line leak which ruptured the natural gas line.