Preliminary Decision in PG&E Gas Case

By Published On: March 18, 2011

Pacific Gas & Electric could settle a dispute over rates for its gas transmission and gas storage operations, but would have to prepare periodic natural gas safety and storage reports under the terms of a proposed decision. Under the March 16 draft decision, the settlement would resolve a dispute between the utility and other parties, including The Utility Reform Network. The consumer group protested PG&E’s natural gas transmission and storage application for 2011 through 2014. TURN focused on revenue requirements, cost allocation, and rates for the four-year period. PG&E originally requested revenue requirements of $529.1 million for 2011, $561.5 million for 2012, $592.2 million for 2013, and $614.8 million for 2014 in its application. But the amounts were eventually negotiated downward to $514.2 million, $541.4 million, $565.1 million and $581.8 million, respectively. Per the agreement, a typical PG&E residential customer using 37 therms per month would experience a 0.7 percent increase in their monthly gas bill, equating to about 36 cents. Small commercial and large commercial gas customers would see monthly increases of 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. The safety and storage component of the ruling, which was conceived in the wake of the deadly Sept. 9, 2010, San Bruno fire that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes, mandates that by Aug. 1 PG&E must submit to the CPUC the first of a series of semi-annual status accountings. “The safety report will allow staff to monitor PG&E’s compliance with federal pipeline requirements, which requires a gas transmission operator to assess and to manage the integrity of all of its gas transmission pipelines located in a high consequence area,” Wong wrote in his decision. Although the provisions appear related to the San Bruno tragedy, CPUC spokesperson Terrie Prosper said that it isn’t the case. “They do not examine what has happened in the past regarding the explosion in San Bruno,” she said of the rulings. “The CPUC has other ongoing proceedings to look into PG&E’s pipeline records.”

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