Sounds like somebody’s going to have a big, fat lawsuit!
(09-15) 19:32 PDT — Three years ago, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. asked state regulators for $4.9 million to replace a portion of the same natural gas pipeline that ruptured last week and set a San Bruno neighborhood on fire.
State regulators agreed, and the work was scheduled to be done in 2009. The price became part of the rates all PG&E customers pay.
But the pipeline replacement – in South San Francisco, a few miles north of last week’s blast site – never happened. And now PG&E wants an additional $5 million to do the same job, according to PG&E documents released today by a consumer group.
“If they’d fixed the section they said they said they were going to fix, maybe they would have found something a few miles south – we don’t know,” said Mike Florio, senior staff attorney for The Utility Reform Network, which released the documents.
PG&E did not respond to a request for comments by press time.
The documents illustrate a problem that has long infuriated PG&E critics.
The company has a history, they say, of deferring repairs and using maintenance money for other purposes. In one infamous case, a 1998 report from the California Public Utilities Commission found that the utility had taken $77.6 million that was supposed to be spent trimming trees near power lines – a vital step in wildfire prevention – and used it to boost corporate profits instead.