The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission recommended Friday that a $400,000 fine be levied against Puget Sound Energy for an explosion that destroyed a North Seattle home and injured a couple living there.
Results of a Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) investigation into the September 26, 2011 gas leak explosion, released last December, found an electrical current surge from a downed Seattle City Light power line punched a hole in the PSE natural gas line, causing the leak that led to the explosion.
PSE gas workers found leaks in three pipes on Sept. 25, but failed to find the leak at the exploded house until late on Sept. 26, said UTC investigators. The house exploded around 6 a.m. on Sept. 26.
Investigators said PSE failed to survey all the gas lines and mains in the area, including the service line to the home and the gas main in and under the adjoining cul-de-sac.
The company has 20 days to respond. A three person commission will conduct a hearing to determine whether to impose a penalty and for how much.
A PSE spokesperson released the following statement in response to UTC's release:
"We’re committed to working with the UTC and all stakeholders to ensure continuous improvements for customer safety."
No matter how much the fine is, PSE is not allowed to pay for it by raising customers’ rates.