Tuesday, March 15, 2016


ABSTRACT: Re: BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA Order Instituting Investigation And Order to Show Cause on the Commission’s Own Motion into the Operations and Practices of Pacific Gas and Electric Company with Respect to Facilities Records for its Natural Gas Distribution System Pipelines, the OPENING BRIEF OF PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY document copy is embedded.
Carmel identified seven incidents that were not mentioned in either the OII or PWA’s reports, which Carmel claims show “PG&E doesn’t know what is in the ground.” Ex. 43 at 2:4 to 2:26 (Carmel Testimony, Calhoun). In fact, only one of these incidents had any relationship to PG&E’s recordkeeping. Ex. 4 at 3-35:20 to 3-40:14 (PG&E Reply Testimony, Higgins). However, Carmel does not allege any legal violations in connection with those incidents.
PWA also claims that the relationship between the Mountain View and Carmel incidents constitutes a violation of 49 C.F.R. § 192.617, which requires operators to “establish procedures for analyzing accidents and failures . . . for the purpose of determining the causes of the failure and minimizing the possibility of a recurrence.” Ex. 1 at 40:14-18, 48 tbl.5 (PWA Report). Both because PG&E has such procedures and because this is not a recordkeeping regulation, there is no basis for finding PG&E in violation of section 192.617 here. See also Appendices B & C.
PG&E has an unwavering commitment to continuously improving not only its gas distribution system recordkeeping practices but also the safety of its distribution system, and complying with all applicable rules, regulations, and statutes. PG&E is also committed to continuing to work with the Commission to pursue these important goals. PG&E submits that its investments and initiatives to improve the accuracy of its gas distribution records and minimize the risk of incidents on PG&E’s gas distribution system comply with an appropriate standard of care that implements the safety mandate the Commission has held is incorporated in section 451, and is consistent with the federal and state pipeline safety regulations. While PG&E acknowledges that more work remains to be done—because, when it comes to safety, there is always work to be done—it respectfully disagrees that it has violated the statutory provisions and regulations alleged by SED.384
384 PG&E does not address the issue of a penalty in this submission because no penalty proposal has been put forward by SED or Intervenors.
PG&E supports many of the further actions recommended by PWA and has already either implemented these initiatives or is conducting the recommended investigations and analyses. PG&E looks forward to working cooperatively with the Commission and SED to identify and consider further opportunities to continue improving its recordkeeping and other practices to better serve the public and promote the safety of its employees, contractors, and the communities it serves.
Filing Date 2-26-16
Appendices A-D

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