Section 105A. Authority to regulate and control the storage, transportation and distribution of gas and the pressure under which these operations may respectively be carried on is hereby vested in the department. Upon the filing with the department of a written complaint of the mayor of the city or selectmen of the town where a gas company is operating, or of twenty of its consumers, either as to the manner in which or pressure at which gas is being or shall be stored, transported or distributed, the department shall notify said company by leaving at its office a copy of such complaint, and shall thereupon, after notice, give a public hearing to such petitioner and said company, and after said hearing may make such order, if any, as it may deem necessary. Such order may likewise be made by the department after notice and hearing as aforesaid upon its own motion or on petition of the company.
Any person, firm or corporation who violates any provision of any code adopted by the department pertaining to the safety of pipeline facilities and the transportation of gas, or of any regulation or rule thereunder, at a time when the department has submitted and has in effect the annual certification to the United States Secretary of Transportation provided for in section five A of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act amendments of 1974 (see section 1674 of Title 49 of the United States Code), shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $50,000 for each violation for each day that the violation persists; provided, however, that the maximum civil penalty shall not exceed $1,000,000 for any related series of violations.
Any such civil penalty shall be determined by the department. In determining the amount of the penalty, the appropriateness of the penalty to the size of the business of the person, firm, or corporation charged, the gravity of the violation, and the good faith of the person, firm or corporation charged in attempting to achieve compliance, after notification of a violation, shall be considered. The amount of the penalty, when finally determined, may be deducted from any sums which the commonwealth may owe to the person, firm or corporation charged or may be recovered in a civil action commenced in the superior court.