PG&E Fined for Flawed Records on San Carlos Pipeline

PG&E will be allowed to return a natural gas pipeline in San Carlos to its maximum pressure, and people who live near it aren't happy.

The California Public Utilities Commission made the decision in a 5-0 vote on Thursday.

But it also slapped PG&E with a $14 million fine for a delay in revealing that its records for a natural-gas pipeline in San Carlos didn’t show potentially risky welds.
The pipeline has been operating at lower pressure since an engineer warned there could be another “San Bruno situation.”

"We believe that the pipeline has many unknowns,” San Carlos Mayor Mark Olbert said. “There’s about a mile of pipeline out of four miles that nobody knows what’s under the ground."

PG&E says the line was tested in 2011 and is safe.

"We know that pipeline is operating safely, and the commission backed that up today,” PG&E spokesperson Brittany Chord said.

In a document submitted last month, California Public Utilities Commission member Mark Ferron proposed fining PG&E Co. $17.25 million for a late and misleading correction in information about welds in segments of Line 147, a 3.8-mile natural gas pipeline in San Carlos.

Ferron wrote, "We simply cannot allow such deliberate and calculated dishonesty."

The pipeline will be returned to maximum pressure soon, after the people of San Carlos are informed of the change.

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