Two years after the fatal and avoidable pipeline explosion in San Bruno, too little has changed at profit-driven PG&E.
PG&E is resisting TURN’s demands for accountability for the San Bruno explosion even while it continues to reward executives for good “financial performance.” A CPUC staff report recently concluded that changes at PG&E have not gone far enough.
“PG&E is more concerned about its skin–deep image than the ugly–to–the–bone practices that led to the San Bruno explosion,” said Mark Toney, executive director of TIURN. “PG&E has spent millions to burnish its image in a major television, billboard, and online ad campaign, but has failed to accept financial responsibility for fixing its poorly managed pipeline system.” Toney said PG&E should spend profits to pay for pipeline repairs that ratepayers have already been billed for instead of rewarding executives for the company’s poor safety record.
Publicly available documents show that PG&E executives continue to enjoy lavish perks and pay, and lifestyles unimaginable to the average PG&E customer. Executives who led PG&E while pipeline safety was neglected are getting golden parachutes, including over $3 million for former COO John Keenan. Rather than accept responsibility for its failures PG&E wants customers to pay, and to book high profits as well.
“Two years have brought too little change at PG&E,” said Mark Toney, executive director of TURN. “While PG&E refuses to pay for the consequences of its neglect, it rewards executives with millions in bonuses, health club memberships, free parking and other perks on top of unjustified and inflated salaries.” The CPUC report concluded that PG&E still has not made a “financial commitment” to pipeline safety.
TURN is demanding that the CPUC hold P&GE accountable for its neglect of gas pipelines, and, in separate petition to the CPUC, TURN is urging a reduction in the high profits the Commission has authorized in the past. According to the CPUC report, a profit-driven culture will never be able to deliver the safety customers urgently need.
“Two years after San Bruno, the company is still putting the bottom line ahead of fairness to its customers, and PG&E still hasn’t gotten the message that it needs to change,” Toney said.