Con Edison faces potential fine over breaches of safety rules

(Reuters) – Energy company Consolidated Edison Inc could face a possible fine over accusations of lapses in safety rules related to gas infrastructure work in New York City, a local regulator said on Friday.

After receiving allegations in a 2016 anonymous letter that utility contractors had cheated on operator qualification exams, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) said it directed gas companies to look into it.

Con Edison found evidence of cheating at two contractors, the PSC said, and violations of construction requirements at work done by the contractors.

“The investigation found that the company failed to inspect work completed by its contractors during construction and at sufficient intervals to ensure compliance, and that it allowed work to be completed by plastic fusers and plastic fusion inspectors who were not qualified to do the work,” the regulator added.

A spokesman for Con Edison said the company was reviewing the order and would provide an appropriate response.

“Several years ago, we became aware of, and then reported to the PSC, suspected cheating by contractors on exams administered by an external party. Subsequent company inspections identified issues related to the work performed by those contractors,” spokesman Allan Drury said.

Con Edison has been ordered to respond to the regulator within 45 days.