Wednesday, January 19, 2011

California state legislator blasts CPUC for 'culture of complacency'

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Assemblyman Jerry Hill on Jan. 13 called on the California Public Utility Commission to do a better regulatory job and hold PG&E more accountable following the recent exposure of the utility's faulty record-keeping practices in the aftermath of the deadly Sept. 9 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

At the beginning of the CPUC meeting in San Francisco, Hill, D-San Mateo, blasted the commission's three board members for what he called their "culture of complacency" in regulating Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s pipeline practices, which have come under intense scrutiny since the fire.

"It has become very clear that gas line inspections are not adequate. It took outside reports to shed light on the problem,"

Hill said in a two-minute statement before the commission. "I don't have confidence that this commission will do its job."

Hill's concerns were related to recent findings in the National Transportation Safety Board's ongoing investigation into the Crestmoor disaster that PG&E didn't know that Line 132, the section of pipeline that exploded, had a number of longitudinal welded seams in it - contrary to what the utility had previously reported.

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