The CPUC created a comprehensive, high-level, Gas Safety Action Plan to guide and promote the CPUC’s shift in culture from the traditional compliance model to a regulatory structure that sets, monitors, and enforces rules for regulated utilities based on risk assessment and risk management. The Gas Safety Action Plan also tracks the CPUC’s implementation of improvements responsive to recommendations made by the Independent Review Panel and the National Transportation Safety Board in response to the tragic PG&E San Bruno pipeline explosion that occurred on September 9, 2010. As part of the Plan, the CPUC engages in an in-depth review of its current practices and procedures to seek areas for improvement in gas pipeline safety.
The Gas Safety Action Plan categorizes the efforts of the CPUC into four basic goals that embrace the elements of the CPUC’s overall mission to protect the public and utility workers from unsafe practices and events regarding gas pipeline facilities in California:
- Ensuring the safety of the existing gas system
- Upgrading and replacing the gas system to make it safer
- Reforming the CPUC - making safety its first priority
- Instilling Safety Culture in Gas Operators
To accomplish these goals, the Plan’s focus is to:
- Proactively identify, evaluate, and mitigate risks;
- Verify compliance with rules, standards, and risk mitigation measures;
- Propose and litigate enforcement actions;
- Develop policies and procedures to assess the safety culture of natural gas pipeline operators and
- Educate operators to promote the elements of the Plan
- Review and improve CPUC policies, practices, and procedures
The Gas Safety Action Plan is designed to be a living document that will drive the CPUC’s overarching strategies to improve its Gas Pipeline Safety Program. This “safety action plan” concept will not be limited to the Commission’s Gas Pipeline Safety Program, as we also are in the process of developing similar plans for the Electric and Railroad Safety Programs with innovative safety measures and methods with the goal of instilling a culture that inspires the values of utility safety and reliability throughout California, and the Nation.
[View the plan]