PSC FINES ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE for One Call Violation
(Minot Daily News) – Verendrye Electric Cooperative will pay a $5,000 penalty for a violation of the North Dakota One Call law that resulted in an injury to a local resident. The North Dakota Public Service Commission agreed to a $7,500 fine, with $2,500 suspended for five years based on no further violations.
Verendrye was charged for a violation of the One Call law last December after its contractor failed to properly mark the cooperative’s underground line within the legally accepted margin of error. A local resident filed a complaint after hitting a 15-kilovolt power line last July while digging by hand with a post hole digger. The resident had called 811 for line locator assistance and Verendrye’s contractor, Summit Utility Services, sent a representative to locate and mark the line. The marking was just outside of the two-foot margin of error, and the resident struck the power line.
Summit has stated its technician acted correctly, using state-of-the-art locator equipment, but the type of line is among the most difficult to detect. The signal on the line didn’t show up at the actual location, resulting in the marking falling outside the parameter of two feet on either side of the estimated location. Summit, however, took responsibility for the line repair.