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False Gas Pipeline Inspections

Seattle, WA: (Apr-03-08) The Utilities and Transportation Commission brought charges against Puget Sound Energy, after investigations revealed that there were 209 violations in phony gas pipeline inspection records. The suit claimed that Puget Sound's subcontractor, Pilchuck Contractors Inc. of Kirkland, WA falsified and altered safety maintenance records. An audit revealed that there were violations in records between January 2002 to December 2005.

State regulators said that accurate record-keeping is a critical component of pipeline safety and vital to the commission's ability to perform safety inspections. They stated that falsifying records is a federal offense and an obstruction of justice, which warranted a serious penalty. In some cases, regulators found that the person who signed off on the second inspection was absent from work on that day and couldn't have performed the check. In other cases, the first and second inspections were filled out in the same handwriting, or dates were falsified to show inspections were completed on time.

As part of a settlement reached, Puget Sound Energy agreed to pay a $1.25 million fine to resolve allegations. Under the terms of settlement, the company, which has 11,350 miles of natural gas pipe in Washington State, also agreed to better monitor its subcontractors and improve its record-keeping system. [SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER: PSE FINED MORE THAN $1 MILLION FOR ALTERED RECORDS]

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Published on Apr-5-08


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