PG&E Wants Customers to Pay for Pipeline Ugrades

Struggle Continues Over Who Should Foot the Bill

By Kellie Onaga
|  Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012  |  Updated 8:08 AM PDT
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PG&E Wants Customers to Pay for Pipeline Ugrades

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PG&E wants ratepayers to fork over money to pay for its gas pipeline upgradess.

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Pacific Gas & Electric's popularity among its customers may be on the verge of a nose dive, given its latest move.

The San Jose Mercury News reports the company is continuing to insist that its customers pick up the $2.2 billion tab to upgrade its aging gas pipelines. But PG&E says it's willing to cover the cost of tests on some of its pipelines.

It's the latest development in a high-stakes struggle between the utility and consumer groups.  PG&E says customers should pay for most of its pipeline upgrade plan because they will cover new safety standards. 

But consumer groups counter that the company misspent ratepayers' money and should have paid more attention to safety before the deadly San Bruno blast in September 2010.

PG&E's senior vice president for regulatory affairs said Tuesday PG&E shareholders will pay for $360 million of the $2.2 billion tab. Customers would cover the difference.

A hearing on the pipeline upgrade plan and who should foot the bill is set for March 12 before an administrative law judge at the Caliofrnia Public Utilities Commission.

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