On July 24, 2015, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s (“Commission”) staff filed a Natural Gas Pipeline Failure Investigation Report (“Report”) regarding a home explosion that occurred on March 21, 2015 in Upper Arlington, Ohio that caused an estimated $9 million in damages to approximately 20 properties and rendered a number of homes uninhabitable. The filing of this Report indicates that the explosion may have been caused by Columbia Gas of Ohio’s (“Columbia”) failure to properly remove an old gas line from service. The Report indicates that the old service line, although not being used, remained connected to an active main line and was not properly plugged or sealed. The Commission staff indicated in the Report that Columbia’s actions may constitute a violation of the Commission’s pipeline safety rules. It remains to be seen how Columbia will respond to this Report, what action the Commission will take and whether lawsuits will be filed against Columbia for damages caused by the explosion.
I recently published an article on this case with additional details of the Report and next steps.