According to the San Jose Mercury News, PG&E's latest natural-gas explosion that has devastated a San Bruno, Calif., community is not a first for the company. As it turns out, the company has a history of problems. The newspaper reports that between 1986 and last month, PG&E had 132 "significant incidents" with its natural-gas transmission and distribution pipelines, according to records from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Those incidents resulted in 18 fatalities, 64 injuries and $41 million in property damage. They were caused by a variety of problems, including pipeline corrosion, failed valves and excavation damage by contractors. In May 2008 the California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees natural-gas pipelines, found in an audit that PG&E had not properly trained its field representatives on the use of gas-detection equipment and grading leaks outdoors. If that isn't enough, in May 2010 a consumer group disclosed internal PG&E documents that revealed shortcomings in the way the company inspected its gas-distribution lines from 2004 to 2007. Wow, it’s no surprise that the explosion occurred, with issues like that. It is surprising that a company of this size doesn’t have better technology and seems to think that these seemingly preventable incidents are acceptable. We think that four more people dead and approximately five more people missing is completely unacceptable.
Read more at the San Jose Mercury News.