Audit: Utility failed to spend $50M for gas pipeline safety before fatal California blast

SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific Gas and Electric Co. did not use $50 million it collected from ratepayers that was meant to improve its gas pipeline network in the decade leading to a deadly explosion in a San Francisco Bay area suburb, an audit shows.

From 1999 to 2010, the utility regularly failed to use all the money to fix and maintain small gas lines that deliver natural gas to homes and businesses, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday (, citing the audit by Leawood, Kan.-based Overland Consulting for the California Public Utilities Commission.

Overland could not say exactly how PG


The blast in San Bruno killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes. A larger, gas transmission line exploded in that case, not the distribution lines cited in the audit.

But distribution lines can also explode, as they did in Cupertino in 2011 and Rancho Cordova in 2008, the Chronicle reported.

The 2008 blast killed a homeowner.

A previous report by Overland found that PG