PG&E Explores Bankruptcy After Fatal Wildfires and Falsifying Pipeline Safety Records

Following fatal wildfires in 2018 and 2017, California utility company PG&E is exploring filing some or all its business for bankruptcy protection. The company faces billions of dollars in liabilities related to those fires and the California Public Utilities Commission opened proceedings to consider penalties against the company for falsifying pipeline safety records for over five years.

The bankruptcy filing is not certain, however amid all the potential lawsuits, the company is considering the move as a contingency to combat the significant financial charges it would be hit with.

There is a possibility that the company could receive financial help through legislation that would let it pass on to customer’s costs associated with fire liabilities, however bankruptcy preparations are still being made.


PG&E Fined $24.3 Million for Inaccurate Records on Natural Gas Pipelines

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) seeks $24.3 million from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for failure to maintain accurate records of its natural gas distribution system.

CPUC reported Wednesday that it previously fined PG&E $10.8 million for a natural gas explosion in 2014 that demolished a cottage in Carmel. This incident elicited an investigation into PG&E to study its record-keeping of its gas distribution system.

The investigation found that PG&E relied on false records of underground gas lines, which led to damaged pipelines during excavation, interrupted gas service, and ultimately the explosion in Carmel.

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Fox 40 via The Associated Press

SoCal Gas Company Fined $2.25 Million for Pipeline Safety Violations

Aerial view of the Aliso Canyon gas leak, two months after the incident began.
EARTHWORKS (Aliso Canyon methane leak Credit: Earthworks) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Southern California Gas Company was fined $2.25 million due to delayed fixes on corrosion control systems that were found during a gas operation inspection in the Harbor Area and Mid-City.

The inspection took place in April and May 2015 by the Safety Enforcement Division for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), during which the CPUC found 45 safety violations. According to the citation, between 2011 and 2015 SoCal Gas Company failed to repair 125 deficient corrosion prevention systems within the required 15 months. CPUC fined the gas company for 45 of those 125 deficiencies that exceeded two years, reporting that they posed unacceptable risk to safe operations.

Months after the April and May 2015 inspections, a gas well blew out at the company’s Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility in the north end of the San Fernando Valley near Porter Ranch. The well rupture led to the uncontrolled release of more than 5 billion cubic feet of natural gas and the relocation of more than 2,000 families outside of the area.

CPUC’s citation notes that the violation was not willful, and Southern California Gas Company has taken highest responsibility to address the problem by implementing system-wide corrective actions.

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