SAN FRANCISCO, May 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) released the following statement from PG&E Corporation Chairman and CEO Tony Earley in response to filings by parties proposing fines and penalties related to the San Bruno accident, PG&E's operation of its gas transmission pipeline system in or near locations of higher population density, and recordkeeping investigations before the California Public Utilities Commission:
"I understand the desire to punish PG&E. However, the penalties proposed by the Commission staff and others far exceed anything that I have seen in my 30 years in the industry and fail to appropriately account for the actions taken by the company.
"I am deeply concerned that an excessive penalty, such as those proposed, could dramatically set back our efforts to do the right thing by making it harder and more costly to finance the remaining improvements that are needed in our gas system. To avoid this, it is essential that the Commission take a more balanced approach in rendering its final decision.
"Since this tragic event occurred, PG&E has been clear in its commitment to take full accountability, to address the needs of victims, and, most importantly, to transform this company into the safest gas provider in the country.
"We recruited a leadership team comprised of the best gas operators in the industry, including Executive Vice President of Gas Operations Nick Stavropoulos, who is one of the most respected names in the business.
"This team has made remarkable progress toward our goal of building the safest system. In just over two years, we have completed seven of the 12 recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board. PG&E's shareholders have funded $1.4 billion of these improvements. No other gas utility has completed safety work on this scale.
"I am very pleased by this progress, but we have much more work to do. Our pipeline network is massive. If built in a straight line, it would run from here to Boston and back 15 times."
As part of its work to improve the safety of its gas system, PG&E has:
- Validated the maximum allowable operating pressure for all 6,750 miles of gas transmission pipelines
- Converted more than 3.7 million paper records going back 50 years and added them to PG&E's new Geographic Information System so field technicians have improved access to data
- Strength-tested or validated prior strength testing for 435 miles of transmission pipeline
- Replaced 45 miles of pipeline
- Retrofitted 78 miles of pipeline to accommodate in-line inspections
- Automated 67 valves
- Improved leak response time from fourth quartile nationally to first quartile
As part of its scheduled work in 2013, PG&E plans to:
- Strength-test or validate with prior strength testing for an additional 189 miles
- Replace an additional 59 miles of pipeline
- Automate an additional 67 valves
- Retrofit an additional 121 miles of pipeline for in-line inspections
- Perform in-line inspections of 78 miles of pipeline
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation's cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit: http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/ and www.pgecurrents.com.
SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)