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Courts and Crime

Dominion East Ohio ordered to pay $500,000
The Public Utility Comission of Ohio penalized the company for its involvement in a 2011 explosion in Fairport Harbor.

Simon Husted
The Public Utilities Commission at an AEP hearing
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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is ordering a gas utility company to $500,000 for its involvement in an explosive fire that hit the village of Fairport Harbor nearly two years ago.  

The Commission also required Dominion East Ohio to complete changes to prevent similar incidents in the future.  The company redesigned a hanful of gas regulator stations and installed monitoring equipment at more than 250 other stations across Ohio.

Dominion spokesman Neil Durbin says it hasn’t yet estimated how much these changes will cost.

Durbin on Dominion's order

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“And again, that is probably something that will be put into our next base-rate case,” Durbin says. “We have not had one of those since 2008 and we do not have a timetable on when we will file a future rate case to recover these costs."

The 2011 fire severely damaged 11 homes and inflicted 1.3 million dollars in property damage.

In its report Wednesday, the PUCO says leaking gas pipes caused regulating devices to malfunction and the facility to explode.

PUCO spokesman Jason Gilham says $500,000 was the biggest amount it could issue by law, but the commission could fine more if the incident repeats itself. 

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