City Manager News ReleaseCity of San Carlos
City Manager's Office

City Hall
600 Elm Street
Phone: (650) 802-4228
Fax: (650) 595-6729


Subject :

Judge Rules On Issues Concerning PG&E Line 147 in San Carlos
Contact :Jeff Maltbie, City Manager, City Manager    (650) 802-4228
SAN CARLOS, CA, October 22, 2013 – On Monday, October 21st, Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey took several actions in response to recent safety concerns about PG&E line 147, which carries natural gas through San Carlos. Judge Bushey granted the City of San Carlos' petition to become an "Interested Party" in the ongoing California Public Utilities Committee (CPUC) proceedings on Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) natural gas pipelines stemming from the 2010 San Bruno explosion.

Despite San Carlos’ objections, Judge Bushey set an expedited schedule for reviewing safety issues surrounding line 147 identified by a PG&E engineer in an internal PG&E email from November 2012. The email was recently released by PG&E to the CPUC and San Carlos as part of the San Bruno proceedings after the CPUC ordered PG&E to turn over additional documents regarding line 147.  Judge Bushey set the next hearing date for November 18th at 9:00 AM at CPUC headquarters at 505 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco.  At the hearing, PG&E experts will testify and be available for cross examination by City of San Carlos attorneys and other interested parties regarding line 147 safety issues.  The Judge expects to issue a proposed decision (PD) on the matter on November 22nd.  The PD will then be considered by the CPUC Board at a December 5th hearing, where it will be either affirmed or amended. 

City Manager Jeff Maltbie expressed his deep concerns over the Judge’s actions, “From the first moment I learned a PG&E engineer had serious safety concerns about line 147, the City made it clear we wanted line 147 shut down until all the issues identified by this engineer had been properly reviewed and addressed by the CPUC. Judge Bushey’s decision yesterday is alarming and concerns San Carlos greatly. The CPUC is responsible for ensuring these lines are safe and should be taking extra care to make sure this process is not rushed and decisions are not being made piecemeal.”

Although the City continued to express concern about the safety of line 147, Judge Bushey granted PG&E’s request to amend the Safety and Enforcement Division’s October 7th order, which kept line 147 shut down, to allow PG&E to operate the line as a distribution line (rather than a high pressure transmission line) with a maximum dynamic pressure of 125 psi.  

San Carlos Mayor Bob Grassilli stated, “I am disappointed by the Judge’s decision to reopen line 147 before a proper and complete safety review has been conducted and would like to invite the Judge and members of the CPUC to come to San Carlos and see firsthand the neighborhoods and residents the CPUC is charged to protect.”

The City plans to file a petition with the CPUC later today requesting that Judge Bushey’s decision to allow line 147 to be operated at lower pressure be reversed and that the line remain shut down. The City is also filing a petition with the CPUC today requesting that the City be reimbursed by PG&E for its costs in addressing PG&E’s own safety concerns on line 147.

State Senator Jerry Hill will hold a hearing to develop an action plan to improve safety communications from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to local agencies in response to recent safety concerns about PG&E line 147. Officials from the City of San Bruno, the City of San Carlos, and the City/County Association of Governments for San Mateo County will testify at the hearing.  Representatives from the CPUC and PG&E are also expected to appear. Interested residents and businesses are invited to attend this event on Monday, October 28, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at San Carlos City Hall, 600 Elm Street, in the City Council Chambers.