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PG&E utility slapped with over $5M in citations for 2 gas pipeline accidents


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PG&E utility slapped with over $5M in citations for 2 gas pipeline accidents

California regulators issued $5.05 million in citations to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. over two natural gas distribution pipeline accidents in 2016 and 2017 that involved violations of federal regulations.

The California Public Utilities Commission gave the PG&E Corp. utility a penalty of $4.05 million for a gas leak and ignition in Deer Park, Calif., that occurred in 2016. Employees of Pacific Gas and Electric, or PG&E, caused the leak while doing repair work on a service valve. The gas ignited, injuring two utility employees and causing "severe damage" to the house, according to the Oct. 15 citation.

An investigation into the 2016 accident showed that the crews failed to follow the proper procedure, and that PG&E had not communicated the procedure, which was new, to the crews. The employees also did not receive formal training on maintenance work, the citation said.

PG&E also received a $1 million citation for a gas leak in Yuba City, Calif., in 2017, which led to an explosion that injured utility personnel. The leak was due to poor installation of a pipe joint, resulting in a defect that failed to sustain gas pressure inside the pipe.

The commission gave the utility 30 calendar days to pay the citations or appeal them, according to an Oct. 16 news release from the commission.

PG&E serves 4.3 million gas customer accounts across a 70,000-square-mile service area in central and Northern California.