Friday, March 13, 2015, San Francisco–TURN said today that a new proposal issued this afternoon by President Picker of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to penalize PG&E $1.6 billion for mistakes leading up to the San Bruno explosion was a major step toward holding PG&E accountable. The “decision different” released today by President Picker is much Improved over previous proposals, and adopts many of TURN’s recommendations for consumer protections and PG&E shareholder responsibility.
“This is a victory for TURN, the Cities of San Bruno and San Francisco, ORA and all of PG&E’s customers,” said TURN executive director Mark Toney. TURN had urged the Commission not only to penalize PG&E $1.4 billion but also to apply much of that money to pipeline safety. President Picker’s proposal does just that, crediting customers with $400 million and demanding that shareholders bear the costs of $850 million in pipeline safety improvements.
Toney said Picker’s proposal, like TURN’s, “puts the responsibility for pipeline neglect where it belongs, on PG&E’s shareholders.” Toney noted that previous proposals criticized by TURN would have put too much money into the state general fund, and too little into pipeline safety.
Toney sounded a note of caution about pending PG&E proposals for gas transmission rate hikes at the CPUC. “The Commission must not give with one hand and take away with the other,” he said. “If this proposal passes, the Commission must be vigilant in making sure that it doesn’t allow PG&E to make up the difference by being overly generous to PG&E on other pending requests.”