SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A group of Pacific Gas and Electric shareholders are suing the utility over its handling of the aftermath of the San Bruno pipeline explosion and fire in 2010.
Attorney Mark Molumphy represents shareholders suing PG&E over the San Bruno explosion. “The lawsuit seeks to hold what we believe to be those responsible, which is PG&E’s management,” Molumphy said.
The suit seeks to recoup tens of millions of dollars in bonuses paid to top management, at the same time he said the utility was cutting back on gas pipeline safety.
“But more importantly in a case like this, it allows them to also force corporate changes, force the company to change the way it does business,” said Molumphy.
This comes after PG&E CEO and President Tony Earley on Wednesday called for the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors to review the company’s handling of natural gas pipeline 147 in San Carlos.
On November 4, the California Public Utilities Commission issued an Alternate Proposed Decision by Commissioner Mark Ferron that called for fining PG&E $17.25 million for its deliberate failure to promptly notify the CPUC of incorrect records related to the pipeline, which runs under San Carlos.
“We take the concerns that Commissioner Ferron has expressed seriously. It is important to understand that, as the Administrative Law Judge in the proceeding acknowledged, this was not a safety issue but rather an issue of regulatory compliance. In this proceeding, the CPUC Safety and Enforcement Division said that all public safety issues were addressed by PG&E’s operational actions,” Earley said in a statement. “In addition, I strongly believe that the employees working to correct the records associated with Line 147 were trying to do the right thing.”
Earlier this month, after learning of the flaws on Line 147, the CPUC ordered PG&E to reduce the pressure on the line by 2/3.
PG&E spokesman Greg Snapper said the company’s decision to investigate its own management is “essential to our future as a company that our conduct meet expectations.”
But Molumphy said the move is too little, too late, hence the lawsuit.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)