PG&E May Pay Big for San Bruno Blast

By Published On: January 13, 2012

Pacific Gas & Electric could face steep fines for alleged violations of state and federal gas pipeline safety laws that caused the San Bruno natural gas pipeline blast, according to a Jan. 12 report by the California Public Utilities Commission staff. The report by the commission’s Consumer Protection and Safety Division also claimed that PG&E fell short of accepted industry standards in its installation of the pipe that ruptured in September 2010. “Today’s order is a watershed event,” said commissioner Mark J. Ferron. “It is the culmination of a lengthy investigation by our staff and the National Transportation Safety Board.” The CPUC voted unanimously to immediately open a penalty hearing. “If we determine PG&E has violated the law, we are prepared to impose very significant fines,” added CPUC president Mike Peevey. PG&E was accused of having a corporate culture that emphasized profits over safety and failing to comply with federal pipeline integrity management requirements. The report also alleged the utility’s recordkeeping was inadequate and that its data collection and reporting system and procedures to handle emergencies and abnormal conditions was deficient. According to the CPUC, the case is also to assess “all past operations, practices, and other events or courses of conduct that could have led to or contributed to the pipeline rupture in San Bruno.”

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now