The Utility Reform Network (TURN) has obtained documents detailing the energy giant’s request to the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a rate hike in 2007. PG&E asked the PUC for permission for a $5 million rate hike to “replace a section of the same pipeline that blew up in San Bruno.” The PUC approved PG&E’s request, allowing it to hike its rates so that it could repair the line in 2009.
Yet the energy giant failed to go through with its scheduled repairs. And in 2009, it once again requested a rate hike from the PUC, again for $5 million. In its request, PG&E warned that if “the replacement of this pipe does not occur, risks associated with this segment will not be reduced. Coupled with the consequences of failure of this section of pipeline, the likelihood of a failure makes the risk of a failure at this location unacceptably high.” Despite these admitted risks, the company could only promise to make its repairs by 2013.
While the company failed to spend the $5 million it took from customers in 2009 to repair the faulty pipeline, it did spend that exact same amount in the same year on bonuses for its executives, according to TURN.
Calitics notes that while PG&E failed to use the millions it charged consumers in rate hikes to repair its pipeline, it did manage to spend millions of dollars supporting Proposition 16, which would've allowed it to secure its monopoly over the power sector in the state.
There is always money for politics, power grabbing and pocket-lining.
Protecting the people of California? Not so much.
Utility FAIL. Yes, someone should go to jail. People were killed in this accident. Will they? Well, in our glorious plutocracy, the only people who ever suffer the consequences of this kind of malfeasance are the little ones.