New CPUC Hit With New San Bruno Demands

 

For Immediate Release: January 26th, 2011

Consumer groups and local officials today demanded that the CCPUC immediately open a coordinated, public investigation into the PG&E gas pipeline explosion that killed eight residents, destroyed dozens of homes, and devastated the Crestmoor neighborhood. TURN and the City Attorney of San Francisco, Dennis Herrera filed their requests for an Order Instituting Investigation or OII at the CPUC today.

San Francisco—Consumer groups and local officials today demanded that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) immediately open a coordinated, public investigation into the PG&E gas pipeline explosion that killed eight residents, destroyed dozens of homes, and devastated the Crestmoor neighborhood. TURN and the City Attorney of San Francisco, Dennis Herrera filed their requests for an Order Instituting Investigation or OII at the CPUC today.

Current CPUC inquiries into the disaster are being held behind closed doors, and do not allow interested parties to use discovery to request documents from PG&E or cross-examine witnesses. The Commission’s “Blue Ribbon Panel” is not open to residents of San Bruno, their elected officials, TURN, the SF City Attorney and other interested parties, and does not have enforcement powers.

“Concerns over regulatory laxity and pipeline safety must be addressed with a transparent, public investigation,” said TURN executive director Mark Toney. “Any recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be utterly meaningless if they are not enforced, which is what happened after the Rancho Cordova explosion. Effective regulators should welcome the opportunity to impose fines and remedies, and determine who is liable for any increased costs.”

Issues not addressed in existing CPUC proceedings include forecasted vs. actual spending on pipeline safety and reliability, pipeline classification and inspection practices, the potential value of automatic shut-off valves, deferred or re-prioritized maintenance, and other earnings and management issues. TURN’s request for an investigation was jointly filed with the California Consumer Federation, and with the support of State Senator Mark Leno.