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Hill: CPUC Should Reject PG&E Pipeline Modernization Program

Assemblyman Jerry Hill says PG&E's $2.2 billion plan, proposed in the wake of the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, would saddle ratepayers with the majority of the costs while the utility would unfairly make a profit.

Assemblyman Jerry Hill and The Utility Reform Network today are once again calling on the California Public Utilities Commission to reject PG&E's proposed plan to modernize its pipeline system.

The CPUC is expected to make a ruling soon on the plan, which was and will cost about $2.2 billion—of which PG&E says ratepayers should pick up 90 percent of the tab.

Hill, D-San Mateo, and Mark Toney, the executive director of TURN, are using a press conference in front of the CPUC's San Francisco headquarters to blast PG&E and accuse the utility of unfairly trying to profit off of customers for its mistakes leading up to the San Bruno fire.

Before the news conference, Hill said the CPUC should require PG&E to take the majority of the financial responsibility for modernizing its pipelines.

“Ratepayers shouldn’t have to pay PG&E higher utility bills for a level of service they should have been receiving all along,” Hill said in a statement.

In previous interviews, PG&E said it is only seeking to recover costs for projects carried out between 2012 and 2014.

"We're not seeking any costs from prior projects," PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord said. "We're taking a massive effort on taking a closer look at our system."

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John Kevranian August 20, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Take a look at the CPUC'S commisioners background. They are mostly former utility company executives who are very well connected with PG&E. I think no former utility company employees should seat on the CPUC commission. The laws need to change.
KA August 20, 2012 at 11:31 PM
PG&E has been charging ratepayers for years to update and fix pipline. They should take the money out of their company profits. I am tired of paying two and three times for the upgarades that were not done!
Martin Ricard August 21, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Here's what else was reported Monday about PG&E's pipeline plan (via BCN): PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord said that the utility has already begun a shareholder-funded, system-wide effort to hydro-test its pipelines, search for leaks, remove aging pipes and replace manual valves with automatic valves that shut off gas supply in the event of an emergency. ... The testing and infrastructure improvements that have been under way since the San Bruno explosion have been paid for by PG&E's shareholders, Chord said. "We're in the midst of a huge effort to modernize our pipelines," Chord said. "Any work that has been done to meet existing regulations has been paid for by shareholders." If the CPUC approves PG&E's Pipeline Safety Improvement Plan, the cost of future work on the transmission system would be shared by ratepayers as well as shareholders. The cost to ratepayers would work out to about a $2 increase on an average monthly utility bill, Chord said.
Martin Ricard August 23, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Congresswoman Jackie Speier just announced that she sent a letter to Paul Clannon, the executive director of the CPUC, requesting that “the commission adopt a principle of analysis. This principle could be stated as follows: Mistake-driven expenses should be paid for by shareholders.” In the letter, Speier says that PG&E was paid by ratepayers to create a safe and reliable gas pipeline system and failed to do so. She concludes that very few of the costs should be borne by the ratepayers. She took a similar stance in another letter she sent to the CPUC in March: http://patch.com/A-sl5L.

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