Underground Damage Prevention Violations and Penalties

The Division of Enforcement enforces the requirements, imposing mandatory training and assessing civil penalties when appropriate. While compliance is the ultimate objective, civil penalties are sometimes necessary to ensure compliance. The maximum penalty for each violation of the law or rule infraction is $5,000. Damage to underground infrastructure may involve more than one potential violation.

Department of Energy Division of Enforcement Process

Whenever underground infrastructure that provides services such as electric, cable, water, gas, telecommunications, and other providers of essential public services is damaged, or when an excavator or utility discovers a potential violation of the New Hampshire Underground Damage Prevention regulations, it is required that a report be filed of the damage or potential violation with the New Hampshire Department of Energy’s Division of Enforcement. At the NH Department of Energy Division of Enforcement, each damage and potential violation is reviewed and appropriate actions taken. New Hampshire Administrative Rule Puc 807 establishes the criteria to be used in determining whether or not to assess a civil penalty and the amount of penalty to be assessed.

The criteria are: the gravity of the violation, history of prior violations, degree of culpability of the respondent, how quickly the respondent took action to rectify the situation, cooperativeness of respondent, and any other factors which would tend to either aggravate or mitigate the violation.

Violators, who are alleged to have not notified Dig Safe or 811 prior to excavating, if they have no history of prior violations, are usually given the opportunity to avoid civil penalty if they attend a Division of Enforcement provided training session. These are offered at no cost at the NH Department of Energy offices at 21 South Fruit St., Concord NH.

Assissing Underground Damage Prevention ViolationsTypically, violators who have previously committed underground damage prevention violations will likely be assessed a civil penalty. A notice of probable violation is sent to the violator, and they have 30 days to pay the civil penalty.

If an excavator (including homeowners) or operator of the service provider believes that the notice of probable violation was issued erroneously they can request an Informal Conference with the Division of Enforcement. During an Informal Conference, the party is given the opportunity to present any evidence they wish. The Division of Enforcement will hear the appeal and issue a written decision and the case is closed.

Lastly, an appeal process is in place for any written decisions that are still contested. Although this option is rarely used, the written decision can then be appealed to the Commissioners of the NHPUC. If this option is chosen a formal docket will be assigned to hear the case, public notice will be required, the case will be argued before a panel of Commissioners who will then make the final determination. Any civil penalties assessed shall be final and are strictly enforced.

Quarterly results of Enforcement Actions for Dig Safe Violations are shown below.

These are Reported Probable Violations or Damages that were subject to enforcement.

Click on a date for a list of links:

Report to assess a civil penalty and the amount of penalty to be assessed.

2023 (January - December)

Gas Sector Results

Non Gas Sector Results

2022 (January - December)

Gas Sector Results

Non Gas Sector Results

2021 (January - December)

Gas Sector Results

Non Gas Sector Results

2020 (January - December)

Gas Sector Results

Non Gas Sector Results

2019 (January - December)

2019 Gas Sector Results

2019 Non Gas Sector Results

2018 (January - December)

2018 Gas Sector Results

2018 Non Gas Sector Results