CPUC Staff Calls for $75K PG&E Fine For Gas Misinformation

By Published On: October 4, 2013

Pacific Gas & Electric should be fined $75,000 for misleading state regulatory staff that the maximum operating pressure of utility gas pipelines had been fully vetted and validated, stated the California Public Utilities Commission Safety Division in a Sept. 26 filing. The division staff alleged that not only did PG&E and two of its executives erroneously state records to validate the maximum pressure level on transmission lines in highly populated areas were complete, but also delayed informing the CPUC that this was erroneous. “PG&E did not in fact gather complete and adequate records to achieve this purpose, and waited until Sept. 5, 2013, and Sept. 13, 2013, to provide information to the commission that showed the earlier statements that PG&E’s [maximum allowable operating pressure] validation was not accurate and complete,” according to the Energy Division. CPUC staff recommend fines of $25,000 each on the utility, PG&E attorney Joe Malkin and vice president of gas transmission Kirk Johnson for the misinformation. The two utility executives were said to have waited eight months to reveal the errors and then improperly inform the commission of the misinformation. Commission staff also calls for disallowing utility reimbursement of Malkin and Johnson for fines levied. PG&E in its response filing objected to the proposed $25,000 fines on the utility, Malkin and Johnson. The utility said there is “no evidence” that the delay in informing the CPUC of the incomplete validation and method uses are “‘an extreme departure from the ordinary standard of conduct,’ much less a reckless act or intentional attempt to mislead the Commission.”

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