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PG&E puts San Carlos pipeline back in operation

On Monday PG&E turned back on natural gas Line 147 in San Carlos and PG&E's CEO defended the company to the CPUC.
December 2, 2013 6:57:33 PM PST
Natural gas is flowing once again through the pipeline in San Carlos that has been at the center of controversy. On Monday PG&E restarted Line 147 that runs along a four-mile stretch under Brittan Avenue. The question is how much is this going to cost the utility?

One California Public Utilities commissioner thinks that PG&E's new post-San Bruno management team deliberately misled the commission. PG&E CEO Tony Earley, while his mission was to convince the CPUC otherwise, either way, PG&E will pay millions. The question is will it be $6 million or $17 million?

The CPUC wants to know why it took PG&E 10 months to report a significant records discrepancy on a natural gas pipeline in San Carlos. PG&E discovered by chance that Line 147, running under Brittan Avenue in San Carlos, dated from the 1920's and had seam welds, which was very different from what their records showed.

"I'm looking to understand the decision making process within PG&E to see if my presumption of deliberate and calculated dishonesty is correct," said CPUC Commissioner Mark Ferron.

Faulty records was cited as a contributing factor to the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion that killed eight people. The company promised an overhaul of its records system, and prompt and proper records compliance after that, with a new CEO ? Earley -- at the helm.

He testified before the commission on Monday. Earley said, "I think from a safety standpoint, there is not an issue. But when I asses how we interacted with the commission on the issue of communications I am clearly disappointed."

Earley said the utility is undertaking an unprecedented overhaul on all levels of safety and made a personal promise to see it through.

"Our mantra today is, 'Find it and fix it.' I want to underscore that, that's exactly what we did with Line 147. When a leak was discovered, we fixed it. When a discrepancy in the records was identified, we investigated and corrected it," said Earley.

Residents don't feel safe and don't trust the utility.

"I think there should be some oversight and someone needs to inspect what they've done," said Brittan Avenue resident Mark Rosales.

The commission will decide between the proposed $6 million fine and the alternate $17 million on Dec. 19.


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