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California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PRESS RELEASE Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, firstname.lastname@example.org Docket #: Res G-3450 and
CPUC GIVES RATE RELIEF TO SAN BRUNO CUSTOMERS;
ENSURES SAFE NATURAL GAS SUPPLY FOR WINTER
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28, 2010 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today approved rate relief to customers directly impacted by the Sept. 9, 2010, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) pipeline explosion in San Bruno, and ensured that safe natural gas supplies will be available to San Francisco and Peninsula customers this winter.
The CPUC approved PG&E's request to provide bill relief to customers impacted directly by the Sept. 9, 2010, explosion of Line 132. Customers whose homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable as determined by the City of San Bruno will receive bill relief extending through the January 2012 billing cycle with the resumption of regular billing to occur with the February 2012 billing cycle. The bill relief will apply at a customer's home at the explosion site as well as at one temporary housing location. Customers whose homes were not destroyed or rendered uninhabitable will receive bill relief through the December 2010 billing cycle. PG&E shareholders will bear the expense of the bill relief program.
"Our approval of this request will help alleviate some of the hardship that victims of the San Bruno explosion are facing. Having PG&E shareholders bear the cost of this bill relief is simply the right thing to do," said Commissioner Nancy E. Ryan.
The proposal voted on today is available at: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/word_pdf/AGENDA_RESOLUTION/125573.pdf
Separately, the CPUC, following the pipeline explosion, ordered the reduction of pressure in Line 132 by 20 percent. The CPUC noted that with winter approaching it will be necessary for the CPUC to investigate and determine the safety of increasing the pressure to meet the natural gas requirements for PG&E's San Francisco and Peninsula customers, or to determine other ways to meet demand. Should it become necessary for the CPUC to make such a decision on this issue prior to a voting meeting, the CPUC today authorized its President to make such a determination, with input from staff and an independent panel of experts, and subject to full CPUC confirmation at the following voting meeting.
Said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey, "I will not exercise this authority unless two preconditions are met. First, if we were to raise the pressure in the line at all, we must be satisfied, based on expert analysis, that it can be done safely. Second, we also must be convinced that even the smallest increase in pressure on Line 132 is absolutely necessary to meet gas demands. I will exercise the authority given to me today, if at all, only after getting advice from independent, qualified experts, including the Independent Panel the CPUC established at its meeting on October 14."
President Peevey stressed that the CPUC's highest priority and current expectation is that PG&E will be able to meet its gas demands this winter without any increase in pressure whatsoever on Line 132. "PG&E has options to meet demand without raising the pressure on Line 132. It has plans to isolate Line 132 from the other two gas pipelines that serve San Francisco and the Peninsula and the company can provide adequate and safe gas service under a variety of cold weather scenarios by leaning more heavily on these other two lines without increasing the pressure on Line 132 - and without operating the other two lines at unsafe pressures."
Said Commissioner John A. Bohn, "We must proceed with great care. And we must assure ourselves that we have adequate scientific and engineering support for whatever decisions are made."
"Both of the items before us today - bill relief for those impacted by the explosion, and delegation to the President to carry out needed safety directives - demonstrate the CPUC's active and continuing oversight related to this tragedy, and that all of us are doing as much as we can, as quickly as we can, in this regard," said Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon.
"With this action the CPUC will ensure that essential gas service will be maintained through periods of high winter demand without sacrificing the safety of the people of California," said Commissioner Nancy E. Ryan.
The proposal voted on today is available at: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/word_pdf/AGENDA_RESOLUTION/125567.pdf.
For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.