SAN FRANCISCO–The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Thursday approved an Order to Show Cause directing Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to appear at a hearing to show why it should not be found in contempt and fined for failing to comply with a CPUC pipeline records search order.
The CPUC’s Executive Director, Paul Clanon, said that CPUC staff had reached a stipulated outcome with PG&E for the Order to Show Cause, which will be discussed at a hearing on Monday and come before the CPUC’s Commissioners for consideration thereafter. The stipulated outcome would fine PG&E $6 million in shareholder funds for failure to comply with the CPUC’s order and would require PG&E to operate under a compliance plan to complete the CPUC’s directive. Of the $6 million, $3 million would be immediately payable to the state’s General Fund, and $3 million would be suspended if PG&E hits milestones in their records search process and completes its records search for information on grandfathered pipes by August 31.
On Jan. 3, the CPUC directed PG&E to submit pipeline records by March 15 following PG&E’s pipeline rupture in San Bruno. After reviewing PG&E’s submission, the CPUC staff said that PG&E did not respond to the CPUC’s order to comply with the CPUC’s directives to compare installed pipe to as-built drawings and other records in order to be certain the proper maximum pressure has been established for pipelines.
Instead, PG&E relied on the determination of maximum pressure based on the historical high operating pressure. The CPUC’s directive, and the NTSB’s recommendation, called for PG&E to find, to the extent possible, a basis for setting maximum pressure by means other than the grandfathering method described in PG&E’s response.
An Evidentiary Hearing will be held before an Administrative Law Judge and two CPUC Commissioners on March 28 at 10 a.m., where the stipulated outcome will be discussed.