CPUC could vote to impose record fines on PG&E

March 24, 2011 9:13:30 AM PDT
Today, the California Public Utilities Commission could vote to impose its heaviest fines ever. The state could charge PG&E up to $1 million a day for missing gas pipeline records.

It's estimated that PG&E is still missing about 8 percent of necessary documents on its pipeline safety records, including pressure-tests done on the pipeline system. And until those documents can be produced, the CPUC is considering fining the utility company up to $1 million a day.

Some believe the agency is taking a harsher stance with PG&E. There are reports that the CPUC is calling San Bruno - "a game changer" and wants to take aggressive steps to improve safety. The San Bruno pipeline explosion and fire last September killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. For the past few months, PG&E had been working around the clock - trying to recover all documents, to meet last week's march 15 deadline.

PG&E says it's intensely focused on public safety and some CPUC members believe that the utility company is working hard and cooperating. But this morning, the commission will consider whether to propose this $1 million a day fine, which would be the biggest fine it has ever issued against PG&E for a safety violation. The utility company will have a chance to respond at a hearing next Monday.

Whatever happens there, the San Bruno incident has prompted possible new pipeline regulations at the state and federal level.

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