PG&E Proposes Lower Stability Standards For Utility Poles

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – There’s a new effort by PG&E to lower the stability standards for its power poles, and the move has prompted concerns among state regulators in the wake of the San Bruno disaster.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

PG&E officials say it’s too hard to keep flimsy wooden power poles upright during large storms, such as the ones we saw this past winter. They said that the California Public Utilities Commission needs to drop a requirement that the poles be built so that they ‘will not fail,’ saying the wording is unrealistic in worst case scenarios.

The proposed change is largely a legal one, meaning utilities can’t be held liable for wildfires caused by downed power lines. Still, the regulators are concerned that this could lay the groundwork to weaken other utility regulations, like those governing natural gas pipelines.

There’s no word on when the state PUC will rule on the matter.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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