A report was released recently by the state of Maine Public Utilities Commission to the Summit Natural Gas president addressing a number of violations the company has made, including puncturing multiple sewer lines, and suggesting a penalty be enacted.

The gas safety staff, through their series of investigations throughout the state, recorded that at “26 locations, SNGME (Summit Natural Gas of Maine) failed to expose existing underground facilities and provide adequate clearance between those facilities when installing mains by trenchless technology” and recommend a series of corrective actions, in addition to a $150,000 penalty.

The company can choose to accept the penalties, or to fight them. By failing to expose the utilities surrounding the areas in which trenchless technology is applied, there is a significant chance that gas may migrate into surrounding structures, resulting in potential disasters, such as an explosion.

Summit Natural Gas is posing a serious threat to the citizens of Maine. It is cutting corners in its installations to maximize profit, and in doing so is endangering the lives of those residents who live near the gas line installations.

The company was warned twice before this official statement was issued, and chose not to make any corrections. It is clear that it does not have the safety of its consumers truly in mind, or these mistakes would never have occurred.

In one of the damages made in Gardiner, had the gas main been active the results could have been disastrous, according to the report. I support the suggested revisions and fine by the PUC because Summit Natural Gas does not have the right to break the law or to potentially harm the residents of Maine, no matter how much money it has.

Danielle Quirion

Winslow

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