PG&E takes 17 months to fix gas leak -- then breaks water pipe during repairs

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- It started with a gas leak and ended with a water pipe break for one San Jose woman. The whole ordeal began in January of last year. It didn't end until last month -- 17 months later.

"So here is the strip where the smell was," said Kristine Coglitore as she walked to the front of her house.

A neighbor originally alerted her to the smell back in January 2021. Richard Berman walks by the home every day on his daily walks. For several weeks, he smelled what he suspected was natural gas.

"I don't know if I have a more sensitive nose, because there were other people that didn't smell it even when I could smell it right then, and they were right there," he said.

He alerted Coglitore to the smell; she called PG&E, which sent a crew out with a sniffer.

"They came out. They didn't smell it. Then I finally (went) OK. They're the experts. They know best," Berman recalled.

But he continued to have his suspicions and expressed his concerns.

"Once again, we smelled it again. This time it seemed a lot more prevalent. So we called," Coglitore said.

This time PG&E did detect a smell, but designated the risk as minimal.

More than a year went by with no crews sent to address the situation.

A next-door neighbor with children complained to PG&E directly.

One constant always seemed to come up.

"We said we don't want another San Bruno case on our hands," said Coglitore.

"Because of San Bruno, it's always on your mind," said Berman.

PG&E came out to repair the leak last month -- 17 months after the initial complaint.

They dug up the street... and the crew accidentally broke the water pipe while fixing the gas line.

"And he goes, 'Well, yeah, your pipe is really old and it's corroded,' and I said OK," said Coglitore.

PG&E spent hours trying to fix it, but finally suggested Coglitore would have to call a plumber.

The break left Coglitore without water for 1 and a half days before a plumber replaced the water pipe with a new one.

Frustrated with PG&E, Coglitore contacted 7 On Your Side.

PG&E promptly sent her a check for $4,000 to cover the repairs.

The utility told us: "We are grateful for our customer's understanding and remain committed to resolving all claims fairly and promptly."

Coglitore is relieved. "Without you, we would not be able to fight these big corporations," she said.

PG&E agreed to reimburse Coglitore for the repair three days after we contacted them.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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