PG&E Battles With State Regulators Over Who Pays To Improve Pipelines

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) – A judge has tentatively agreed to have customers pay a little more than half the $2.2 billion cost to improve Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s gas lines.

But the judge rejected the utility’s request to have ratepayers shoulder 84 percent of required safety upgrades to their pipelines.

The California Public Utilities Commission judge’s proposed decision Friday to have ratepayers pay roughly 55 percent of the overall cost is aimed at improving record-keeping and safety testing of PG&E’s gas transmission lines.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

The deadly San Bruno explosion prompted the improvement plan. The September 2010 blast killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

Last year, the commission required state utilities to forecast how they would pressure-test or replace the untested segments of their gas transmission lines.

Consumer advocates expressed disappointment at the tentative decision handed down Friday. Public comment was extended through mid-November.

A final decision is expected in late December.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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