City Manager News ReleaseCity of San Carlos
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Phone: (650) 802-4228
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Subject :

Judge Recommends CPUC Allow PG&E To Fully Activate Natural Gas Line 147 in San Carlos
Contact :Jeff Maltbie, City Manager, Office of the City Manager    (650) 802-4228
SAN CARLOS, CA, December 6, 2013 – Despite the City of San Carlos' on-going safety concerns and questions about the need to operate the pipeline, Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey issued a Proposed Decision (PD) this afternoon that would allow the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to repressurize Line 147 in San Carlos up to a psi of 330.  The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Board will affirm or amend the PD at a hearing on December 19th, 2013.

At a hearing held at the CPUC on November 18th and again on November 20th , attorneys representing the City of San Carlos asked Judge Bushey to allow more time for the City and its experts to investigate the safety of Line 147 before allowing increased pressure. In response to safety concerns identified by a PG&E engineer in an internal email from November 2012, the City wanted an opportunity to examine the line. The City argued that the few weeks it’s been allowed to conduct its investigation is insufficient time to evaluate PG&Es records and complete testing of the materials recently excavated from the line.  City Attorney Greg Rubens argued that "the City of San Carlos is requesting in this hearing the establishment of a safe operating pressure of the line using proper legal and engineering standards pending permanent replacement of AO Smith pipe and any 'unknown’ segments." 

It is the City’s belief that repressurizing the line to the maximum allowable of 330 psi without replacing the questionable pipe may prove hazardous. During the hearing, the City’s  expert, Dr. Glen Stevick, had recommended a maximum pressure of 220 psi. However, PG&E argued that winter is here, causing a rush to put Line 147 back into service at 330 psi, thereby putting service over safety. 

City Manager Jeff Maltbie expressed his frustrustration with the Judge Bushey’s decision. “This process was rushed. The City was not given the opportunity by the Judge to review the relevant records, nor time to introduce our expert’s findings. I am hopeful that the CPUC will amend this poor decision and send a strong message to the public that the CPUC puts safety ahead of PG&E profits.”