PG&E could be fined for improperly declaring two natural gas pipelines safe and using misleading filings to minimize the problem, state utilities regulators said.
Two administrative law judges with the California Public Utilities Commission said PG&E characterized substantial record-keeping errors regarding two Bay Area pipelines as a routine problem.
The pipelines in question are in the same regional system as the one that exploded in San Bruno in 2010, killing eight people and destroying dozens of homes.
Poor record-keeping was cited as a major factor in that incident, and the company currently faces up to $2 billion in fines for the San Bruno explosion.
Karen Clopton and Maribeth Bushey, the commission judges, said PG&E workers found last fall that a pipeline in San Carlos was of lesser quality than company records had indicated. The company also discovered it had been running a different pipeline in Millbrae at too high a pressure because of reliance on improper past testing.
The judges said PG&E minimized these serious lapses as data “errata” in a filing made on the day before the Fourth of July holiday, in a manner that “could be seen as an attempt to mislead the commission and the public on the significance of this new information.”
PG&E denied that it misled regulators and said the pipelines are safe.
The judges are considering hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for the errors.