Xcel ordered to fix gas lines or face $1M fineby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has ordered Xcel Energy to identify and fix any gas lines in the state that have broken through sewer lines, or face a $1 million fine.
Earlier this week, a gas explosion destroyed a St. Paul home while a plumbing contractor was attempting to clear a clogged sewer pipe that had a natural gas line running through it.
The gas line pierced the home's sewer line during an infrastructure project that took place in 1999.
State officials say there may be quote "imminent risk" to homeowners in the area of this week's explosion in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood.
Public Safety spokesman Andy Skoogman said state officials want to know how widespread the problem is, and how Xcel will fix it.
"We believe that Monday's home explosion needs to serve as a wake up call this is an issue that the Department of Public Safety was told had been addressed and our order makes it very clear that this is a problem that Xcel Energy must identify and fix in order to prevent another explosion from occurring," Skoogman said.
Xcel Vice President of Operations Bill Kaphing said the company is aware of the issue and is working on the problem.
"There is no threat whatsoever unless they are having work done on their sewer pipe and we have repeatedly sent that message out there to call us if they are going to have that kind of work done and we will arrange for a camera crew to come look at their sewer," Kaphing said.
Xcel plans to begin checking lines in the area near where the explosion occurred on Monday and they are urging customers having work done on their sewers to call 1-800-895-2999.