PG&E is Playing Russian Roulette with Gas Pipeline Safety

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. continues to operate unsafe gas transmission pipelines in California and is playing “Russian roulette with the lives of Californians,” said civic leaders in San Bruno, where PG&E’s gross negligence led to the death of eight residents, significant injuries and the destruction of a residential neighborhood.

San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane and the City of San Bruno made the announcement to coincide with a scheduled announcement by Pacific Gas & Electric Company President Christopher Johns today where PG&E will publicize that it allegedly received “two international certifications for best in class operational standards for its gas operations.”

“PG&E must stop deceiving itself, the public, the press and the communities and cities it operates in,” Ruane said. “The gross negligence that led to the tragic and unnecessary death and destruction in San Bruno is as big a threat today as it was Sept. 9, 2010” when PG&E’s line 132 exploded, creating a shock wave with the magnitude of a 1.1 earthquake and walls of flames that reached 1,000 feet in the air.

Ruane pointed to newly released audits last month by the California Public Utilities Commission, which showed that more than 50 percent of the quality assurance and quality control records by PG&E were wrong.

The State report showed among the 20 sets of PG&E pipeline records that auditors picked at random, documentation on 11 of them was either missing, erroneous or rife with inconsistencies.

PG&E is currently facing federal criminal charges and as much as $2.5 billion in CPUC regulatory fines and penalties stemming from the San Bruno explosion and fire.

Ruane reiterated San Bruno’s call for:

1.       An independent monitor to assess and provide honest evaluation in overseeing the CPUC and PG&E’s alleged pipeline safety improvements to ensure progress is actually being made, public safety is being improved, and PG&E funds earmarked for pipeline safety are not again being diverted to executive compensation.

2.      Fully automated Gas Shut-Off Safety Valves to ensure the public’s safety in the event of future PG&E catastrophes

3.      The strongest fine possible by the CPUC of $2.5 billion against PG&E for its gross negligence in San Bruno to ensure the utility takes gas transmission safety seriously.

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