In what is the largest penalty of its kind approved by the state Board of Public Utilities, Public Service Electric & Gas and Henkel & McCoy, Inc. will fork over $1.6 million for their responsibility in a fatal natural-gas explosion in Ewing Township last year. The fine also covers other alleged violations of the state’s laws regarding underground pipeline safety.
In investigating the incident, which left a woman dead, the agency identified specific concerns with actions taken by the utility and the contractor that may have led to the incident. The BPU ordered corrective actions to be taken by both PSE&G and Henkel & McCoy to improve safety operations and to ensure compliance with all laws.
In the settlement, PSE&G will pay $725,00 and Henkel & McCoy $600,000. In addition, the state’s largest utility will pay $275,000 for alleged violations of the state law aimed at protecting underground natural-gas pipelines, which came up during the investigation, but were not causally related to the explosion in Ewing.