SECTION 1. Section 75E of chapter 164 of the General Laws as appearing in 2018 Official Edition is hereby amended by inserting after the first paragraph the following paragraph:-
The department shall adopt safety regulations: (1) requiring that any work performed on a gas company’s lines or equipment (including, but not limited to, tapping, tie-overs, tie-ins, responding to or repairing leaks, abandonment of mains and services, and the installation, repair or maintenance of regulator stations and customer regulators) shall be carried out by a company employee with at last five years of experience with the relevant skills or knowledge for that work; (2) prohibiting outside contractors from performing work on or venting gas from live or active lines; (3) requiring all gas companies, when marking lines and infrastructure or performing leak surveys , to utilize only company employees for such tasks; and (4) requiring that an inspector who is an employee of the company be on site for work being lawfully performed by an outside contractor.
The department shall adopt regulations requiring all companies to maintain, and make available to all field personnel working on its lines and equipment, maps that properly identify and locate regulator stations, mains, services, valves and fittings associated with such lines and equipment. The regulations shall further require that the maps be promptly updated as any changes or modifications are made to the company’s system.
SECTION 2. Section 148 of Chapter 164 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding after the first paragraph the following paragraph:-
In implementing the requirements of this section, the department shall ensure that any engineer whose stamp is affixed to plans or specifications has sufficient and specific experience in the safe construction and operation of gas distribution systems, in addition to certification in any branch of engineering pursuant to section 81E of chapter 112, and notwithstanding the provisions of clause (l) of section 81R of chapter 112.
SECTION 3. Chapter 164 of the General Laws is amended by inserting after section 75H, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, the following:-
No later than December 31, 2020, each natural gas company in the Commonwealth shall have a call and dispatch center located within the company’s service territory for the purpose of receiving calls regarding the potential or actual presence of gas odors, fires, explosions, high pressure or over-pressurization, low pressure or no pressure, carbon monoxide and any other circumstance that may present a threat to public safety and well-being. The call and dispatch center shall have the ability to promptly notify and dispatch all necessary company employees and notify public safety officials who need to be alerted to such calls.
SECTION 4. Section 105A of chapter 164, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is amended by striking out the second paragraph, and inserting in place thereof the following:-
Any person, firm or corporation who, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, is found to have violated any provision of any code adopted by the department pertaining to the safety of pipeline facilities and the transportation of gas, or any regulation or rule thereunder, shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $500,000 for each violation. A separate violation occurs for each day the violation continues. The maximum civil penalty under this paragraph for a related series of violations is $5,000,000. In assessing any penalty, the department shall consider: (i) the nature, circumstances, and gravity of the violation; (ii) the degree of culpability of the violator, and any history of prior violations; (iii) good faith in attempting to comply; (iv) the financial impact on the violator to pay any fine: and (iv) any other matters that justice requires.
SECTION 5. The Department of Public Utilities shall adopt regulations implementing SECTION 1 no later than 270 days after this bill is enacted into law.
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