State Fines Natural Gas Distributor for Cape Cod Safety Violations

national gridHYANNIS – A state regulator has fined a natural gas distributor $1.25 million for 20 pipeline safety violations on Cape Cod.

The state Department of Public Utilities Pipeline Engineering and Safety Division decided on Friday to penalize National Grid.

An agency spokesman said that the fine is the largest penalty they’ve handed down against a local distribution company.

State officials said the company failed to follow its own operations and maintenance manual and did not follow federal and state pipeline safety regulations on over-pressurizing lines. They said the company can either sign a consent order and pay the fine, or request an adjudicatory hearing.

A company spokesman says it will not contest the consent order. It must pay the penalty within 30 days.

“National Grid respects the department’s analysis and we will fully comply with its decision. Out natural gas system is operating safely, and we continuously invest in our infrastructure to ensure the safety and reliability of our system for the 112,000 customers we serve on Cape Cod, and throughout our service territory,” said Jake Navarro in a statement.

He also said National Grid will continue to work closely with local communities on Cape Cod and other stakeholders to complete the Mid-Cape Main Replacement as quickly as possible.

When the utility realized their pipes were handling too much pressure earlier this year, they imposed a moratorium on new natural gas connections from Dennis to Eastham. Only limited new service can be installed in Barnstable and Yarmouth.

The Mid-Cape Main Replacement project includes the installation of 18 miles of new gas lines.

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