SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — In a stunning announcement, the California Public Utilities Commission opened up a huge case against Pacific Gas and Electric for falsifying gas pipeline records from 2012 to 2017.
The case specifically cites failing to locate and mark natural gas pipelines and changing forms so the work wouldn’t appear to be late.
“During this time all of this was going on falsification of records. It’s a very very upsetting situation,” former San Bruno mayor Jim Ruane told KPIX.
Ruane was mayor of San Bruno on Sept. 9, 2010 when a 30-inch natural gas pipeline blew in the Crestmoor neighborhood, sending a fireball 1,000 feet into the sky, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes.
Now, dozens of new homes and a new park stand at the site of the crater caused by the pipeline explosion.
Ruane says PG&E needs to see beyond the ledger sheet.
“This is not just about metrics and rates. It’s about people who died because of their lack of care,” he said.
The utility giant has taken multiple hits recently. The company is under investigation for potentially igniting the deadly Camp Fire in Butte County. PG&E equipment has also been blamed by Cal Fire for starting several of the fires during the Wine Country firestorm last year.
Stock prices have also fallen off a cliff, from a high of nearly $50 per share on Nov. 7 to just 26 dollars at the close of business Friday.
In a statement, Pacific Gas and Electric spokesperson Matt Nauman told KPIX “At PG&E, our most important responsibility is public and employee safety. We’re committed to accurate and thorough reporting and record-keeping and we didn’t live up to that commitment in this case.”
For his part, Ruane has lost faith in the company’s ability to change
“I’d like to see the public utilities commission do their job this time. Do what has to be done,” Ruane said.
PG&E released a statement addressing the charges on Friday afternoon:
“At PG&E, our most important responsibility is public and employee safety. We’re committed to accurate and thorough reporting and record-keeping, and we didn’t live up to that commitment in this case. Once that became apparent, we took and continue to take additional actions to meet the regulatory standards related to our Locate and Mark record-keeping. Among those actions are: improvements to our system that tracks 811 tickets; an upgraded review and audit protocol; hiring more employees, and enhanced training for employees, to perform this work. We are aware of and cooperating with the CPUC’s investigation. We are fully committed to keeping our customers, communities and co-workers safe every single day.”