PG&E CEO Tony Earley, who’s taking a lot of heat for the faulty pipeline that exploded in the San Bruno PG&E case, is scheduled to make a presentation at 3 PM at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) headquarters about another pipeline that runs through the San Carlos Area and that’s very much like the one that harmed the City of San Bruno.
The CPUC Headquarters is at 505 Van Ness Ave in San Francisco. Earley will speak in the auditorium.
PG&E critics in the City of San Bruno say that the company faces a fine of up to $17 million for violating CPUC rules for discreetly filing an “errata” – the legal term for a minor correction – on the status of two pipelines, located in San Carlos and Millbrae, nearly a year after a gas leak “unexpectedly revealed” (according to many sources) faulty records for those pipelines.
On the afternoon of July 3, 2013, and a day before the CPUC took off for the July Fourth holiday, it was disclosed that PG&E had relied on faulty records to determine the specifications for those pipelines to handle gas at high pressure.
Pipelines that were listed as “seamless,” as in the case of the line that ruptured in San Bruno, were in fact a 1929 vintage welded and reconditioned gas pipe with a strength test less than records showed. That is the kind of pipeline which has also served the San Carlos area.
Critics report that in 2011, PG&E declared that the pipeline construction records were accurate for both Line 101, which runs from Milpitas to San Francisco, and Line 147, which runs in the San Carlos area. Based on PG&E’s representations, the CPUC allowed PG&E to increase the pressure back to pre-explosion levels.
In reality, PG&E’s pipelines were not rated to operate at higher pressure, as revealed after an October 2012 corrosion-related leak in San Carlos revealed seams in the pipeline previously not thought to exist. Yet, it took nine months for the company to admit – by way of the subtle “errata” filing — that the records it had relied on to make that determination were faulty.
At previous CPUC hearings, regulators pressed PG&E over the “profoundly troubling” oversight, which occurred despite “the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars for record review and validation.” PG&E now faces fines of up to $17 million, on top of a possible $2.25 billion penalty and fine stemming from the fatal 2010 explosion and fire in San Bruno.
San Bruno officials say this is just the latest example of PG&E expending millions on top attorneys – more than $120 million by PG&E’s own admission – to subvert the truth and put profits over people.
Let’s see what PG&E CEO Tony Earley has to say about this at 3 PM at the CPUC Headquarters in San Francisco.