In a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E said it cannot satisfy a state order to come up with "traceable, verifiable and complete" records on all 1,800-plus miles of its pipeline in and around urban areas.
The commission issued the order after it was revealed that PG&E's records incorrectly described as seamless the San Bruno pipeline that exploded Sept. 9, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. Federal metallurgists have concluded that the pipe failed at a seam weld, but PG&E never conducted inspections that might have detected the problem weld.
PG&E couldn't come up with records for more than 600 miles of gas transmission line by the state's March 15 deadline and has proposed that it pay a $3 million fine while it produces additional documentation by August. The utilities commission is still considering the deal.
In its April 21 filing, PG&E called the order for complete records "unprecedented" and said that full documentation would be a "very difficult, if not infeasible, threshold to achieve."
Before the March 15 deadline, the company enlisted hundreds of employees to search through more than a million boxed documents, looking for records to back up PG&E's stated safety levels on pipelines.
Instead of complete records, PG&E said, it wants the commission to accept what amount to educated guesses about some pipelines.