SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A published report suggests that Pacific Gas and Electric had a policy in place encouraging workers to essentially overlook safety risks along natural gas transmission lines, thus keeping repair costs for the utility down.

According to the results of a San Francisco Chronicle investigation, published by the paper, the utility handed out bonuses to supervisors whose crews found fewer leaks in natural gas pipelines.

Complaints about the leak incentive system from three whistle blowers led to an internal company audit in 2008. Ultimately, the program was halted.

KCBS’ Betsy Gebhart Reports:

“I’ve seen this before in other companies,” offered independent pipeline safety expert Richard Kuprewicz, who reviewed the report. “It’s a very dangerous process to have. It actually rewards people who do the wrong thing. That’s a position you don’t want to be in in a major company, especially if you’re handling material like natural gas.”

A PG&E spokesman said the old – and now defunct – policy was never intended to be used as an actual incentive to find fewer leaks.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)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

Comments (3)
  1. Mark Perry says:

    “…never intended” overlook questionable flaws = $$, so else could it have been perceived by the guys on the job?

  2. Niko says:

    Wake up, PG&E is nothing more than another word for crime organization, not ONE exec, not one person in charge will ever face jail time.

  3. David Legnosky says:

    Again, Management BS! Bonuses for not find problems? That’s like rewarding a cop for not giving speeding tickets. $$$$$ – that’s all that matters in today’s business!

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