UNION GAS REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH MINISTRY OF LABOUR ON CHARGES RELATING TO WINDSOR PIPELINE INCIDENT IN 2003 - Duke Energy

News Release
March 08, 2005

UNION GAS REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH MINISTRY OF LABOUR ON CHARGES RELATING TO WINDSOR PIPELINE INCIDENT IN 2003

CHATHAM, ONTARIO – In a settlement agreement presented in court today, Union Gas entered a plea of guilty and accepted a fine of $300,000 for one of the four charges laid by the Ontario Ministry of Labour under the Occupational Health and Safety Act related to a pipeline construction incident in Windsor on April 28, 2003. The remaining three charges were withdrawn.

Union Gas was fined for failing to take reasonable precaution to ensure that a handle was removed from a gas flow stopper machine while cutting or welding occurred on a natural gas pipeline.

The incident involved an explosion and fire which injured two Union Gas employees and two employees of its contractor, Aecon. One of the Aecon employees later died from his injuries.

“Union Gas deeply regrets the events surrounding this incident and we again wish to extend our sincere sympathy to the family of the Aecon employee who died of his injuries and to the injured Union Gas and Aecon employees and their families,” said Mel Ydreos, Union Gas vice-president, operations. “We hope this settlement will help to bring closure to this issue and avoid placing additional stress on the affected employees and their families.

“While our company is recognized as an industry leader in safety and we have highly trained workers and no prior convictions, we have thoroughly reviewed our operational and safety procedures as a result of this tragic incident.  Additional safety procedures are now in place to avoid a reoccurrence of this kind,” Ydreos said.

Union Gas is an integrated natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company serving about 1.2 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 400 communities in southwestern, northern and eastern Ontario. The Company also provides storage and transportation services to other energy companies in Ontario, Quebec and the United States. Union Gas is a Duke Energy company. 

Contact: Elizabeth Havelock
Phone: 519/250-2347
24-Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
e-mail: ehavelock@duke-energy.com