News Releases

Sen. Merritt: Underground Utility Safety Bill Passes Senate

STATE HOUSE (Feb. 6, 2018)Senate Bill 125, authored by State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), passed out of the Indiana Senate by a vote of 47-1 today.

SB 125 would address safety concerns that became known last summer after MetroNet contractors damaged more than 30 gas pipelines, which prompted the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to investigate the damage associated with MetroNet’s installation of cable wires.

This bill would ensure utilities and telecommunication companies hire qualified and reputable excavators, provide information on their contracted excavators to the IURC, and that hired excavators are informed of Indiana’s “Call Before You Dig” law.

“Companies need to guarantee the excavators they hire will do their job safely,” Merritt said. “Residents should never be put in harm’s way with the chance of an explosion or fire on their property or in their home because the excavator didn’t do their job correctly. This bill will be a step forward in assuring safety in our communities.”

SB 125 would also provide that the IURC may report to the Indiana Office of the Attorney General an excavator who has violated the “Call Before You Dig” law, is a foreign entity, or who has failed to register with the Indiana Secretary of State. Excavators not in compliance could be fined up to $10,000.

In 2017, there were more than 2,500 excavation damages statewide. This includes all utilities — gas, electric, cable, water and sewer.

The bill now moves to the Indiana House of Representatives for further consideration.


Contact: Lauren Beatty, Press Secretary