Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Cinergy: Gas main rupture cost $4-5M

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Cinergy officials gave the city a preliminary estimate Monday of $4 million to $5 million in costs to the utility for the gas main/water main rupture that halted 3,708 gas services early this month.

        City Manager Phil Ciafardini told city commissioners at Monday night's meeting that he had discussed costs with Cinergy representatives.

        Mr. Ciafardini said the estimate of $4 million to $5 million is not a final figure.

        He emphasized that no liability has been determined for the incident, which apparently started with a water main break and resulted in water being pumped into a 8-inch gas main, which then carried water through gas lines into homes and businesses all over the city.

        When asked by commissioners what the city's maximum insurance coverage was, Mr. Ciafardini said it was $3 million.

        “Obviously, we would hope that we would not go over the (insurance) cap,” he said. “If it were determined that the city was liable, and damage exceeded the cap, we would certainly try to negotiate some settlement. But it's really too early to look at anything like that.”

        Mr. Ciafardini told commissioners that the city's total cost as of Monday, including overtime pay, appliance replacement and repair, and additional replacements and repairs, came to $116,807.69.

        The city's firefighters, who went door to door passing out information and assisting residents without gas, accounted for almost $21,000 in overtime pay. An additional $9,000 went to the police department.

        The city received 416 calls for assistance, primarily for damaged appliances, and the net claims from those calls was 369. The city has replaced 90 gas stoves and will replace 66 more, probably within the next week. An additional 112 appliances were repaired.

        City officials decided to take care of appliance replacement/repair immediately and deal with individual insurance claims later.


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