2. Background

On January 13, 2011, in Resolution L-410, the Commission ratified a directive to Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) contained in a letter dated January 3, 2011, from the Commission's Executive Director. The January 3 letter directed PG&E to comply with certain National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Safety Recommendations.1 The NTSB's Safety Recommendations were based on its findings that PG&E's actual installed pipe in Line 132, the line that ruptured in San Bruno on September 9, 2010, was not consistent with its as-built drawings for Line 132. The NTSB observed that other "discrepancies between installed pipe and as-built drawings" may exist in PG&E's system, and that accurate records are "critical" to setting a valid Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP).2

The Commission ordered PG&E to comply with NTSB's Safety Recommendations P-10-2 (Urgent) and P-10-3 (Urgent). The Commission also granted PG&E's request to extend the due date for filing the response to the NTSB recommendations from February 1, 2011, to March 15, 2011. In its decision initiating this rulemaking, the Commission directed PG&E to file and serve the report on "its record review in compliance with the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation" on all parties to this proceeding. 3

On March 15, 2011, PG&E filed and served a document entitled "Report of Pacific Gas and Electric Company on Records and Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure Validation." PG&E characterized its submission as a "status report on the first phase of its efforts to validate gas transmission records and the maximum allowable operating pressure of each of its gas transmission pipelines."4

On its face, PG&E's March 15 submission appears to fail to comply with the two-step document review and MAOP calculation process recommended by the NTSB and ordered by the Commission. Rather than produce "traceable, verifiable, and complete records," as ordered, and then, on the basis of such records, "determine the valid maximum allowable operating pressure" for the affected pipeline segments, as required by this Commission on the recommendation of the NTSB, PG&E appears to have attempted merely to justify the practice of setting MAOP for pre-1970 pipelines based entirely on historical high operating pressure. As discussed in more detail below, PG&E's MAOP documents do not appear responsive to the Commission's order to comply with the NTSB directives to compare installed pipe to as-built drawings and calculate MAOP based on the weakest section of the pipeline or component.

Accordingly, today's decision directs PG&E to show cause why it should not be found in contempt and punished pursuant to the Commission's powers under the California Constitution, Article XII, § 6, and its statutory authority under Public Utilities Code5 § 2113 , as well as why the Commission should not impose penalties pursuant to §§ 2107 and 2108 for PG&E's failure to comply with a Commission order.

1 Commission Resolution L-410, January 13, 2011.

2 NTSB Letter to Christopher Johns, President, PG&E, dated January 3, 2011, at 2.

3 R.11-02-019 at Ordering Paragraph 3.

4 Report of Pacific Gas and Electric Company on Records and Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure Validation, ("PG&E Report") at 1.

5 All citations are to the California Public Utilities Code unless otherwise indicated.

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