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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2016 02:16 PM
From: Representative Matthew E. Baker
To: All House members
Subject: PA One Call

In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation to amend the Underground Utility Line Protection Act, commonly known as the PA One Call law. This legislation was previously introduced as HB 445 (2015-2016.)

The Act created a system of communication intended to protect underground utility facilities from line hits from excavation projects. The law places enforcement of the Act with the Department of Labor and Industry.

My bill will transfer enforcement authority from the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), create a Damage Prevention Committee, remove exemptions from current law, create additional limited exemptions, place additional duties upon facility owners, excavators and project owners and create an administrative process related to violations and the assessment of penalties. The bill also extends the sunset date of the Act to December 31, 2021.

Transferring enforcement authority of the Act from L&I is consistent with recommendations of the US Dept. of Transportation’s Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA.) PHMSA encourages state public utility commissions to enforce One Call laws since states with such enforcement have a lower number of reportable incidents and historically, less damage resulting from reportable incidents.

Transfer of enforcement authority to the PUC is consistent with the current regulatory obligations assigned to the commission. The PUC has oversight over many underground facilities of utilities operating in PA and conducts safety inspections of underground lines. The PUC is dedicated to reducing the number of annual line hits thereby reducing damage to utility facilities that can result in property damage and injuries.

My bill will enhance current law and ensure that excavation work is conducted in a manner that protects underground infrastructure and the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Introduced as HB284