Minneapolis – Dec. 3, 2019 – The following statement is issued by CenterPoint Energy regarding the National Transportation Safety Board's pipeline accident brief on the explosion that occurred on August 2, 2017, at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.
CenterPoint Energy supported the NTSB's investigation to determine the cause of the explosion at Minnehaha Academy and identify safety recommendations. The overriding goal shared by everyone is the desire to prevent something similar from happening again, anywhere.
CenterPoint Energy and its employees recognize and are committed to fulfilling their primary responsibility to operate and maintain a safe and reliable gas distribution system. Shortly after the accident, CenterPoint Energy, without waiting for the NTSB investigation to conclude, implemented improvements to its procedures with the goal of preventing an accident like this from ever happening again:
- We reviewed our existing procedures, especially related to company-initiated relocation of indoor meters to the outside of buildings;
- We made enhancements to work procedures involving project oversight, documentation, and internal and external project communications;
- We engaged in comprehensive training of operations, engineering and field personnel to ensure these procedures were implemented effectively;
- We now send a letter each year to licensed mechanical contractors in Minnesota to remind them of the dividing line between our equipment and the customer's equipment and to emphasize that contractors are not authorized to work on or operate our equipment; and
- CenterPoint Energy's website also includes safety information for residential customers about the dividing line between our equipment and the customer's equipment.
CenterPoint Energy continues to be fully committed to the safety of our employees, contractors, systems and the public.
We were saddened by the tragedy that occurred at Minnehaha Academy, and our deepest sympathy continues to be with everyone who was affected. We also want to express our appreciation to the Minneapolis Fire Department, Minneapolis Police Department and all emergency personnel who assisted victims and helped protect public safety.
The Pipeline Accident Brief concludes the NTSB's investigation. We have reached confidential settlement agreements with the families of the two school employees who died and with the person most seriously injured in the incident, but other litigation arising out of the incident is pending.