PG&E records 'ugly,' California says

Jan. 10, 2011 at 11:11 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Records related to natural gas transmission pipelines in California operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Co, are "ugly," a state utility director said.

The California Public Utilities Commission ordered PG&E to find documents related to its California gas transmission network so it can examine the operating pressure in the pipes to find weak spots.

The company, the San Jose Mercury News reports, might not have all of the paperwork. The CPUC, meanwhile, notes that about 25 percent of the companies 1,800 miles of pipeline might need pressure testing.

"We've been putting them under the microscope, and when you do that, you find things that are ugly," said Julie Halligan, a deputy director of consumer protection and safety division at CPUC. "That doesn't increase your confidence."

Most of the gas transmission lines were installed before extensive record-keeping was required, the newspaper report adds. Halligan said in some circumstances there are no records about California's natural gas pipelines.

A natural gas pipeline owned by PG&E burst Sept. 9, sparking a massive fireball that ripped through a San Bruno neighborhood. The explosion killed eight people and destroyed 37 homes.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it found weld issues along the San Bruno pipeline that may have led to the rupture.

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