Summit Natural Gas agreed Friday to pay a $100,000 fine after the company was accused of installing its natural gas lines too close to other underground utility lines.

The company said it reached a consent agreement on the complaints with the gas safety manager for the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The commission still has to approve the consent decree.

The problem was with the company’s “horizontal directional drilling” practices, Summit said in a release Friday evening. Attempts to reach the PUC for comment Friday night were not successful.

Summit said that since a complaint was filed in October, it has provided new training and issued new qualification requirements for its employees and contractors. The company also is using video surveying equipment to help locate other underground lines, such as sewer pipes.

In its statement, Summit took responsibility for the problems by contractors “who failed to identify the locations of sewer laterals prior to drilling.”

Summit said none of its natural gas lines was put into service until it verified the integrity of any nearby sewer lines and received approval from the PUC.

In December, the company agreed to pay a $25,000 fine to the PUC after contractors installing pipelines were found to have improper qualifications and then the company falsified a test to make it look like the workers had the required certifications.

The PUC’s gas safety manager had recommended a $100,000 fine in that instance and a $150,000 fine in the most recent case.

Summit began working in Maine two years ago on a $350 million project to install natural gas lines in the Kennebec Valley. Most recently, it’s been working in Falmouth, Cumberland and Yarmouth, seeking to hook up 80 percent of the homes in the three towns as part of a $73 million project.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]