SAN BRUNO (KCBS) – Hundreds of Pacific Gas and Electric employees responsible for fusing together the plastic pipes that deliver natural gas to homes have not properly completed training required to be certified to perform the work, PG&E officials said Thursday.
The workers must first take a test to become qualified to heat-fuse plastic pipes, then take a second set of tests a year later to remain qualified for the job.
PG&E officials have informed the California Public Utilities Commission that some 1,400 workers underwent the first test, but for the last several years have not been completing the recertification tests.
“This training procedural issue doesn’t signal any safety concerns because all of our pipe is pressure tested before it all goes into service,” said PG&E spokesman Greg Snapper.
“All of the pipe that goes in the ground is pressure tested one and a half-times higher than it will ever operate at throughout its lifespan.”
Nevertheless, the company has halted all heat-fusion pipe work until the employees complete the unfinished portions of their training.
The revelation of another problem related to pipeline safety at PG&E was disheartening for the many who lost homes and loved ones in the 2010 pipeline explosion and fire, said San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane.
“Every time something like this comes to the surface, it brings us back to 9/9/10 where eight people were died, 38 homes were lost and the city was traumatized,” Ruane said.
“Whether it be record-keeping, whether it be oversight, it’s a frustrating situation.”
PG&E faces a fine of up to $2 billion and criminal charges in connection with the deadly pipeline explosion.