Former Federal Pipeline Regulator Comments on PG&E Fine

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 3, 2014 - 11:09 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 4, 2014 - 11:14 am

Re "Judges recommend $1.4 billion penalty against PG&E" (Business, Sept. 2): The outrageous recommendation of the administrative law judge and California Public Utilities Commission and the money already spent on improving the company's pipeline infrastructure, adds up to a total cost of over $4.7 billion dollars, indicating just how out of touch the ALJ and CPUC are as responsible regulators.

Disallowing funds spent by a company accepting culpability sends a dangerous signal to regulated entities by essentially saying, "Don't spend a penny until otherwise forced to do so by regulators." Moreover, every penny paid by Pacific Gas & Electric must be re-invested back into ensuring better safety for Californians. This recommendation is counterproductive to our safety.

Effective oversight requires all stakeholders, including the regulated entity, to work together. Safety harbors no political ambitions. It is complex and requires hard work by all stakeholders. We should invest in infrastructure and leverage technology wherever we can, ensuring the safest energy transportation system possible.

-- Brigham McCown, San Francisco

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