MINNEAPOLIS – October 23, 2012 –CenterPoint Energy respectfully responds in disagreement with the Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety (MNOPS) findings regarding the 60th Street and Nicollet Avenue incident. CenterPoint Energy stands by the analysis and conclusions of Crane Engineering, a third- party industry expert, who identified soil washout as the cause of the March 17, 2011, incident.
Due to deterioration of the soil foundational support, the natural gas pipe dropped. This caused the pipeline to bend, creating openings in the pipe. The loss of soil support resulted from a washout that occurred beneath the 60th Street roadway. CenterPoint Energy continues to work closely with MNOPS to discuss the findings relative to this incident.
Safety is CenterPoint Energy’s top priority and the company is committed to the safe and reliable operation of pipelines in the communities it serves. Incidents like 60th Street are extremely rare; however any incident, no matter the size, is taken seriously and investigated thoroughly.
CenterPoint Energy has assessed additional locations where a water main and/or storm sewer exists near its natural gas main and taken appropriate steps. Further, CenterPoint Energy continues to evaluate, assess and prioritize its entire distribution system for integrity management purposes.
Natural gas utilities are subject not only to their own stringent internal controls, but also must meet rigorous federal and state oversight to ensure that natural gas is delivered safely, reliably and efficiently through 2.4 million miles of distribution and transmission pipeline, which serves more than 165 million Americans daily.
About Crane Engineering:
Since 1977, clients have counted on Crane to provide forensic engineering and expert witness testimony in support of product liability litigation and insurance subrogation. Crane has provided materials consulting and root cause failure analysis for industrial applications from medical devices to natural gas pipeline incidents. Crane Engineering also has in-house laboratory services, including a low-vacuum SEM/EDS, a metallurgy lab and consulting chemistry.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total more than $22 billion. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy is the state’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serving about 800,000 customers in 260 communities. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.