PG&E Can’t Find Original Records For South Bay Gas Lines
by Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. says it has lost 12 years of gas-line repair records for part of the Bay Area — the largest such gap to emerge since the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion was blamed on incomplete and inaccurate documentation.
In testimony before a regulatory judge at a recent California Public Utilities Commission hearing, PG&E executives admitted that no one can find original paper records of gas-pipeline repairs made from 1979 to 1991 in the company’s De Anza division. That division includes Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Sunnyvale, Campbell, Cupertino and Monte Sereno.
The missing records constitute a central issue as the judge considers whether to fine PG&E for documentation problems on its network of gas distribution lines. Federal and state rules require utilities to maintain original records for the life of a pipeline.
Company officials say their gas system is safe, and they stressed at the hearing that no accidents could be definitively tied to a lack of original records in the De Anza division. However, an internal PG&E investigation of a July 2013 incident in Mountain View in which workers damaged a gas line concluded that the missing De Anza records were a likely factor.