PG&E should be fined $13 million for record keeping blunders, consumer group says

TURN urges CPUC to throw the book at PG&E

A consumer group said Friday that it is seeking $13.1 million in fines against PG&E in connection with new disclosures about faulty records concerning some natural gas pipelines, in the latest conflict linked to the fatal explosion in San Bruno three years ago. Officials in San Bruno also sought sanctions against PG&E for its errors in record-keeping, documents filed with the state’s Public Utilities Commission show. “The faulty records raise a red flag about the safety of the PG&E gas system,” said Connie Jackson, San Bruno’s city manager. The flawed records concern some natural gas pipelines in the Bay Area. The city and The Utility Reform Network, or TURN, criticized PG&E not only for the latest poor records, but they also argued that the utility may have sought to conceal these problems. TURN and San Bruno said PG&E knew of the flawed records in October 2012 but didn’t report them until July 2013. PG&E’s faulty records and maintenance blunders are deemed to be among the key factors that contributed to a 2010 natural gas explosion in San Bruno that killed eight. “PG&E broke the rules, and the attempted cover-up made it worse,” said TURN legal director Tom Long. “PG&E failed to report the corrected information for 253 days.” San Francisco-based PG&E said in a regulatory filing that it did not deliberately mislead the PUC, PG&E conceded in its filing that it should have discussed the errors with a PUC administrative law judge about the best way to disclose its mistakes. The utility said it its actions did not constitute an attempt to mislead the regulators. “We remain focused on building a safety-first culture that encourages employees to find, fix and analyze problems on our system so we can prevent them from occurring in the future,” said Brittany Chord, a PG&E spokeswoman.