"What this means is that it's common practice at PG&E to request rate hikes from the PUC in order to do necessary repairs that are essential to customer safety, and then essentially not do the repairs," said Mindy Spatt, TURN's spokeswoman. "It shows a pattern of disregard for customer safety."
Twice deferring a job on a section of piping it declared high-risk -- and double-billing the ratepayers to boot -- certainly doesn't make anyone want to dash off a paean to PG&E. But if the company hadn't done the aforementioned, would Thursday's blast and fire several miles south have been averted?
The answer: Who knows?
"We're not at all saying this wouldn't have happened if the work had been done," says Spatt. "However, if they'd done this work, maybe they'd have been aware of problems elsewhere. ... But they are not putting customer safety first, which is what they should be doing. This raises questions not only about whether this could have been avoided, but, going forward, what assurances can we get that other pipeline maintenance hasn't been deferred?"
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