PG&E’s cozy relationship with public officials
July 28, 2014
After reading thousands of emails received as part of a California Public Records Act lawsuit settlement, San Bruno officials announced that state utility regulators were advising PG&E on ways to fend off a legal challenge following the deadly gas-pipeline explosion in San Bruno in violations of multiple laws.
The e-mails show that PG&E repeatedly went to top regulatory officials to assist them in dealing with the 2010 explosion, which killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. San Bruno city officials have claimed that since the explosion, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and PG&E cozy relationship revealed a “culture of complacency.”
In an announcement, city officials said they discovered 40 violations of state law in the relationship between the regulators and PG&E.
PG&E contends that the regular communications with the PUC are required and that the utility is “committed to conducting ourselves in an ethical manner at all times,” according to a statement released Friday.
Nevertheless, federal investigators said that the cozy relationship between PG&E and the PUC and insufficient oversight contributed to the San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion.
As part of the settlement, the PUC has agreed to make safety documents and public records more accessible. It took San Bruno almost a year to get copies of more than 7,000 emails.