PG&E Makes Deadline, Still Missing Data

After reviewing more than a million records PG&E comes up short on CPUC order

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    NEWSLETTERS

    PG&E faced an ominous deadline Tuesday from state officials in the wake of last September's deadly pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

    The California Public Utilities Commission ordered PG&E to produce reams of paperwork by March 15 after the revelation the company's records about the ruptured San Bruno line were wrong.
        
    In the five o'clock hour PG&E released a statement that even after an exhaustive search it is still missing about ten percent of the records it is required to keep. The company said hundreds of employees and contractors reviewed approximately 1.25 million records in order to meet Tuesday's deadline.

    "While we have made good progress on our records validation, we are not satisfied with the results to date and will continue to search for and review our files for additional pressure test records and provide regular updates on our efforts," PG&E president Chris Johns said.
                   
    The Sept. 9 blast killed eight people and destroyed or damaged dozens of homes.

    PG&E said it has submitted to the CPUC records for pressure tests or historical operating pressure on more than 90 percent of its 1,805 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines in high-consequence areas.

    According to PG&E the filing included:

    •  Records of pressure tests for 91 percent of pipeline segments installed after 1961 when pressure testing was first required by state regulation. Federal regulations did not require pressure testing until 1970.
    •  Records of pressure tests or historical operating pressure for nearly 92 percent of pipeline segments installed before 1970. Federal regulations allow operators to rely on historical operating pressure to establish the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP) for pipelines installed prior to 1970.

    Chris John's Statement:

    We believe the aggressive plan for inspections and testing outlined in our filing is the right step toward enhancing public safety across our service area. We have worked hard to develop a plan that strikes the right balance between accelerating our steps to strengthen pipeline integrity while simultaneously preserving our ability to safely and reliably provide natural gas service to our customers through all seasons. We intend to work closely with state and local agencies, elected officials, emergency responders and customers to expedite our work and minimize any disruptions.

    The state public utilities commission could order PG&E to conduct even more expensive and time-consuming tests if the utility cannot prove it set safe pressure levels for its transmission lines.