PG&E’s Christmas Rip Off Time To Nationalize Energy Corporations!: News Item: PG&E customers get bill for gas rebuild: San Bruno Blast Regulators say customers to pay 65%, no profit cut by Jaxon Van Derbeke
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers will pay nearly two-thirds of the $1.8 billion it will cost to upgrade the company’s natural-gas pipelines, which were exposed as potentially unsafe by the 2010 explosion in San Bruno, the California Public Utilities Commission decided Thursday. Read More
Today’s San Francisco Chronicle: PG&E gets a nice gift from PUC
The California Public Utilities Commission just handed Pacific Gas and Electric Co. an awfully nice present for Christmas. Following the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion that killed eight people, PG&E has to upgrade its natural-gas pipelines, at a cost of more than $1 billion.
Shockingly, the electric company wanted its customers to pay for 84 percent of that cost, even though an administrative law judge has said that PG&E mismanagement had allowed the pipelines to deteriorate.
The commission decided that customers shouldn’t pay for all of the cost – just 65 percent of it. PG&E’s residential customers will pay, on average, an extra 88 cents per month next year and $1.36 more in 2014. That’s on top of whatever rate increases the commission may approve for PG&E in the years to come.
In October, state administrative law judge Maribeth Bushey suggested that customers should have to pay for a substantial percentage of the cost of repairs – but she also said that the PUC should cut PG&E’s legally guaranteed rate of return – for which it bills its customers – for safety spending for the next five years. She cited PG&E’s “long-standing avoidance of sound, safety engineering-based decision-making in favor of financially motivated nominal regulatory compliance.” Bushey’s plan wasn’t ideal — PG&E should have to pay for the full cost of replacing the gas lines it’s neglected for decades – but at least it was a fair division that included a necessary penalty for PG&E’s neglect.
The ever-deferential PUC decided that PG&E didn’t need that punishment. So PG&E will be allowed to demand most of the repair money from customers, and it won’t see any drop in profits as a result of the need to clean up the mess from years of negligence.
San Bruno officials are rightly furious. Even though the exact pipe that exploded in San Bruno won’t be included in the customer payment settlement, leaders of the city devastated by the disaster consider it an insult that customers have to pay for PG&E’s systemic neglect. The rest of us should, too.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers will pay nearly two-thirds of the $1.8 billion it will cost to upgrade the company’s natural-gas pipelines, which were exposed as potentially unsafe by the 2010 explosion in San Bruno, the California Public Utilities Commission decided Thursday. …
Gary G Willaim Turn, consumer rights advocates and utilities “watchdog” with over 30 years of service challenging California’s powerful utility and telephone companies, released a distressing report on PG&E. According to Turn:
…workpapers submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) by PG&E in 2007 indicating that the cost of repairs for a section of natural gas pipeline within miles of the San Bruno explosion were included in rates as of 2009, although the work has not yet been done. The section of pipe in South San Francisco had been identified as high risk. PG&E’s failure to complete the fix highlights growing concern about whether a pattern of deferred maintenance is putting customers at risk.
Turn: Executive Director Mark Toney: Why did PG&E collect the “cost of repairs” from consumers through rates but never begin the work of replacing or upgrading natural gas pipeline located within miles of the San Bruno explosion that was identified as high risk? According to Mark Toney:
- “PG&E claimed it needed money to repair this high risk pipeline, with an estimated cost of $5 million”
- “PG&E failed to spend the money to get the job done.”
- “In the same year the company spent nearly $5 million customer dollars on bonuses for 6 of its most highly paid executives alone.”
Mr. Toney summed up the situation, if not sarcastically, stating “The company’s (PG&E) priorities appear to be skewed.”
High Priority Repairs
PG&E’s Risk Management program, according to Turn, had rated the repairs of miles 42.13-43.55 on pipeline L132 as a high priority and were scheduled for replacement in 2009 in workpapers submitted in 2007. Yet for unexplained reasons the work was never done.
A repeat request for repairs was made in 2009 with a new completion date scheduled for 2013,” even though ratepayers had already started paying for the project.”
Deferred Maintenance Putting Customers At Risk?
It seems that there is a tangible risk associated with deferred maintenance practices. Executive Direct Toney:
“There’s no excuse for deferring maintenance of potentially compromised pipelines that run under customers’ homes, businesses and schools especially when millions are being spent on executive bonuses. The tragic explosion in San Bruno must never again be repeated. PG&E is responsible for maintaining the gas lines, and has been given more than enough money to do so.”
TURN is asking today for “assurances that any deferred maintenance on high-risk gas lines will be rescheduled immediately, and that the CPUC forbid PG&E from delaying any such repairs in the future.”