A panel charged with investigating CPUC oversight of PG&E in the pipeline disaster Sept. 9 has issued its first progress report that shows the group has met with utility company officials, engaged technical experts and made strides toward assembling a set of "best practices" for pipeline operators.
The , which includes leaders in business, labor, science and technology, has met only once, on Nov. 18. But the report shows members have been sizing up the scope and quality of the way Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has traditionally prevented and responded to crises. A final report is due in May.
“We believe it is essential to evaluate the degree to which PG&E as an operator—and indeed all California natural gas pipeline operators—are being held" to best practices standards, the report says.
"We intend to interview the relevant members of the CPUC staff regarding their technical capabilities, resources, policies, procedures and perceived effectiveness," the report adds.
However, the panel does not plan to pursue technical questions surrounding the failure of the pipeline, which it described as the appropriate purview of the . The panel obtained integrity audits performed in 2005 and 2010 by the CPUC safety branch, and it has retained technical experts to help interpret the findings of the board.
The report also says the CPUC has been cooperative thus far, funding a workplace and budget and making administrators and staff available.