PG&E’s History Points to Questionable Spending and Neglect

Pacific Gas & Electric, Co., has become the focus of intense scrutiny since the explosion of a natural gas pipeline in San Bruno California killed eight people and destroyed nearly 50 homes on September 9, 2010. Investigators are looking into possible neglect of the aging pipeline by the utility giant, a possible cause for the unexpected and devastating explosion. Documents and records about PG&E’s history have surfaced that suggest the utility has repeatedly failed to protect its clients and the public.

Some of these reports are focused on PG&E’s questionable spending. Three years ago state regulators agreed to pay the company nearly $5 million to replace portions of the South San Francisco natural pipeline, the same pipeline that burst. The work was scheduled to take place in 2009, but it never happened. It is unclear where the money was spent.

This is just one example of what appears to be decades of PG&E spending money allotted for pipeline replacement on “other priorities.” Between 1993 and 1995, the gas company was given $80 million more than it spent for its gas pipeline replacement program - a sum big enough to have completely replaced the highest risk pipelines in the Bay Area.

Although many experts believe that the ratepayer will bear this burden, we, at Baum Hedlund, firmly believe that PG&E will ultimately be held completely accountable.