SAN CARLOS, CA, October 8, 2013 – The Safety and Enforcement Division of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today directed PG&E to keep line 147, which carries natural gas through the City of San Carlos, out of service until CPUC Staff can conduct an investigation to verify the safety of the utilities pipeline. In addition, CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio ordered PG&E to submit an updated Safety Certification for line 147 to the CPUC by October 11, 2013. The order forces PG&E to provide a comprehensive statement, incorporating any new information, about the integrity and safe operation of the line.
While complying with the CPUC's order to investigate the safety of line 147 and keep it shut down, PG&E continues to stand behind their previous test results and maintenance practices to claim that line 147 is safe. The City’s concerns about the safety of line 147 are based on unanswered questions about the integrity of the pipeline after a 2011 pressure test was conducted, incomplete records on the pipelines age, and material composition raised by PG&E’s own engineers, that we hope the CPUC will ask PG&E to clarify.
City staff met with CPUC officials today in San Carlos to gain a better understanding of the CPUC’s role in regulating utilities and ensuring their safe operation. As a part of the upcoming investigation, City staff will be conducting a series of meetings with the CPUC Safety and Enforcement Division to explain the City’s concerns and obtain answers to the many questions the City has regarding line 147, and its safe operation.
Mayor Bob Grassilli expressed his appreciation by stating, "I want to thank the California Public Utilities Commission for supporting the safety of the citizens of San Carlos. I look forward to a positive resolution of this situation."
Vice Mayor Mark Olbert commented, “I am relieved the CPUC protected the safety of our residents by ordering the line be shut down and requiring it to be recertified. City staff has my full support in assisting the CPUC with a comprehensive, in-depth review of the immediate and longer-term safety issues associated with Line 147. All of us – the City, the CPUC and PG&E – owe that to our residents.”
Councilmember Ron Collins stated, “I am relieved that PG&E has finally shut down Line 147. Our number one priority is the safety of our residents and Line 147 should not be re-opened until its safety and reliability can be independently verified.”
Earlier this afternoon, representatives from PG&E petitioned Judge Foiles of the San Mateo County Superior Court in an attempt to set aside the injunction issued last week by Judge Miram, which ordered line 147 shut down. The court declined to take action on the request, leaving PG&E with the option to return to court on Thursday to address their request to Judge Miram. Whatever the outcome of Thursday’s proceeding, the CPUC’s decision earlier today ensures that line 147 will remain shut down pending their investigation, regardless of any future court rulings. The City will be going to PG&E headquarters in San Francisco Wednesday afternoon, to meet with top PG&E executives to continue discussions with them regarding the safety of line 147, and discuss next steps to review technical information that serves as the basis for PG&E’s assertion that line 147 is safe to operate.
Councilmember Karen Clapper shared,” I have been pleased to hear from our residents that they were comforted by the prompt actions of our staff. I am sure they are relieved to learn of the CPUC’s decision.”
Councilmember Matt Grocott stated, “It’s good to see the parties involved working together to get this resolved, with safety of our community being the ultimate concern.”
Based on the actions of the CPUC today, the San Carlos City Council will hold a special meeting Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 6:00pm in Council Chambers at San Carlos City Hall to consider ending the City’s declared State of Emergency.
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California Public Utilities Commission -CPUC
Pacific Gas and Electric -PG&E