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Report: Pre-explosion, PG&E said safety, reliability were 'up for debate'

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Report: Pre-explosion, PG&E said safety, reliability were 'up for debate'

Pacific Gasand Electric Co. implied that safety and reliability improvementswere optional but earnings increases were nonnegotiable in the years before thedeadly 2010 San Bruno explosion, according to emails presented by theprosecution in the company's criminal trial, The Daily Journal of San Mateo, Calif., reported.

A neighborhood was destroyed in the 2010 pipeline explosion.

Source: National Transportation Safety Board

Federal attorneys showed the an internal PG&E strategyPowerPoint presentation from May 2008. On a "not up for debate" list,PG&E included an EPS boost; in the "up for debate" category, thecompany listed "safety andreliability," The DailyJournal wrote.

Another PG&E document listed "deliver on EPS goals"as the top priority for the company for 2008-2011, while a 2009 email chainindicated that the utility would have to defer some of its infrastructureassessments to be able to stay within the company's budget, the report said.

PG&E Corp.reported net income of $1.34 billion in 2008 and $1.22 billion in 2009,according to the company's full-year 2009 earnings release.

Federal prosecutors have charged PG&E on 12 felony counts of violating theNatural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, along with one count of obstructing theNational Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the 2010 San Bruno,Calif., pipeline explosion that killed eight people.

The NTSBinvestigation found in 2011 that PG&E's quality assurance,quality control and pipeline integrity management programs were inadequate, andCalifornia officials have repeatedlysaid the company put profits before pipelinesafety work.