PG&E seeks funds for safety measures

July 3, 2012 at 8:49 AM
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SACRAMENTO, July 3 (UPI) -- An official at California utility Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said a request for more consumer-driven revenue was motivated by safety factors.

PG&E asked California regulators for consent to get $5.25 billion from consumers during the next three years to ensure the safety and reliability of its electric and natural gas transmission networks in the state.

Tom Bottorff, PG&E's senior vice president for regulatory affairs, was quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle as saying the request was prompted by safety issues.

"I can't emphasize enough how much people value safety and reliability," he said. "That's what they feel is most important, that's what we feel is most important, and that's the major driver here."

A natural gas pipeline operated by PG&E exploded in September 2010 in San Bruno, Calif., killing eight people and damaging 38 homes. The company could face as much as $200 million in penalties related to the incident.

PG&E, under its proposal, would replace hundreds of miles of distribution lines with the revenue. The request requires the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission. The Chronicle reports that, if approved, the measure would add another 15.6 percent to monthly consumer bills by 2016.

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