INDUSTRY NEWS XTRA

Alberta One-Call and Alberta Common Ground Alliance to Merge

The Board of Directors representing Alberta One Call (AOC) and Alberta Common Ground Alliance (ABCGA) have agreed to a merger by acquisition. AOC will acquire ABCGA and over the next seven months a new structure will be formed that will result in joint operations on January 1, 2021.

“I look forward to the opportunities that this decision provides damage prevention stakeholders. Working together eliminates duplication and will assist us in our pursuit for legislation,” said Darcy Hurlock, Chair of the ABCGA. “Based on the influences of today’s economy, consolidating services from organizations with similar interests allows our collective objectives to continue, grow and improve,” added Fraser Peterson, Chair of AOC.

Utah Earthquake Causes Power Outage during Pandemic

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake shook the Salt Lake City, Utah area in mid-March, cutting off power to tens of thousands of residents and suspending work at Utah’s public health lab in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The quake was the state’s most powerful since 1992. Operations at the public health laboratory were halted while the building was assessed for damage. The state’s coronavirus hotline was also down after the quake, although the health department said a temporary information line was available. People were asked to stay away from the downtown area while crews assessed the damage and to telework unless they worked in public safety or were essential employees.

Rocky Mountain Power indicated that about 73,000 customers lost power immediately following the quake.

CENTURYLINK TO PAY $2.25 MILLION FOR VIOLATING STATE LAW

CenturyLink has agreed to pay $2.25 million as part of a settlement for violating Minnesota State Law regarding underground utility lines. The payment will be made to the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) after the company was charged with “repeatedly violating a state law” in 2019 that requires it to mark the location of its underground telecommunications lines.

The MNOPS said it started investigating complaints that CenturyLink wasn’t responding to marking requests from excavation and construction companies in April 2019. The complaint stated that in some cases, work crews were forced to abandon jobs because the lines were not marked.

As part of the settlement, along with the fine, CenturyLink must comply with additional stipulations, including responding to 90 percent of utility locate requests on time over the next two years.

CenturyLink Response

“We value our relationship with the excavator community, the Office of Pipeline Safety, and our Minnesota customers. We originally changed our locate vendor to improve service. Unfortunately, despite CenturyLink’s significant investments throughout the summer, including deploying over 150 of our own technicians to perform these locates, those changes were not successful. This settlement agreement will ensure that our focus will be on the future rather than rehashing the problems of 2019, and on providing excellent service in 2020 and beyond.”

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