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LG&E, Kentucky Settle Over Alleged Safety Violations in 2011 House Explosion

Louisville Gas and Electric could pay up to $250,000 to settle alleged safety violations that stemmed from a natural gas explosion in southern Jefferson County a year ago.The December 2011 natural gas explosion in southern Jefferson County destroyed a house, damaged several nearby properties and killed a dog. In the settlement,LG&E will pay $125,000 to the Public Service Commission. Another $125,000 in penalties is suspended pending the company’s completion of several remedial measures. The penalties are the highest ever assessed by the PSC in a safety case.PSC spokesman Andrew Melnykovych says the issue isn’t the cause of the gas leak, but rather how LG&E reacted.“We were concerned principally about the response by LG&E to the initial report of the gas leak at that location and even though they had the proper procedures in place, those procedures weren’t followed in every instance,” he said.The settlement also alleges that LG&E didn’t check for gas levels in nearby homes, and operated the gas system at a higher maximum pressure than is allowed by law.LG&E spokesman Brian Phillips says the company is glad to settle the matter.“Safety is always a top priority in every response,” he said. “We strive to improve our operation and make refinements every day, and that’s something we’re going to continue to do.”As part of the settlement, the company will have to provide more training for employees and improve its gas training facility to include a wider variety of emergency response scenarios.

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