CPUC Releases Second PG&E Independent Safety Monitor Report
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), as part of its continued oversight of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) safety performance, today released the second Independent Safety Monitor (ISM) report.
As a condition to approving PG&E’s plan for exiting bankruptcy in May 2020, the CPUC required PG&E’s shareholders to fund an ISM to succeed the Federal Monitor that had been appointed in connection with PG&E’s criminal probation. The Federal Monitor’s term concluded in January 2022. By establishing the ISM, the CPUC enhanced its safety oversight of PG&E. The ISM is an independent consultant that was selected through a competitive bid process. The ISM will serve for five years and provide summary reports of its observations of PG&E to the CPUC and public every six months.
The second ISM report includes observations on the following topics:
- Core Leadership Changes
- Supply Chain/Critical Spares and Inventories
- Asset Age and Useful Life
- Contractor Management/Training and Vegetation Management
- Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS) Program
- Vegetation Management (VM) and Enhanced VM (EVM) Programs
- Distribution Inspections
- Risk Model Updates
- Gas Storage Operations
- Pipeline Integrity Management
- Gas Transmission and Distribution Geohazard Monitoring
- Gas Operations Recordkeeping and Record Management
- Emerging Observations
The ISM supports and adds to the CPUC’s sustained efforts to ensure PG&E prioritizes and executes effective risk reduction. The ISM assesses PG&E’s risk management activities in the field, evaluates safety operations and the efficacy of risk identification and mitigation activities. The ISM also monitors PG&E’s safety-related recordkeeping and record management systems to ensure modernization efforts are informed by prior failures and support safe system construction, operation, and maintenance in PG&E’s electric and natural gas lines of business.
The CPUC has taken many actions to hold PG&E accountable for safely serving its customers, including:
- Issued an Administrative Enforcement Order penalizing PG&E $12 million and ordering corrective actions for poor execution of 2020 Public Safety Power Shutoff events.
- Issued a $5 million citation for PG&E’s failure to thoroughly inspect the Ignacio-Alto-Sausalito transmission lines from 2009 through 2018 and complete 22 high-priority repairs within the time allowed under CPUC regulations (General Order 95).
- Issued a $2.5 million citation to PG&E for incomplete distribution pole inspections in 2019 that violated the requirements of CPUC regulations (General Order 165).
- Issued a directive to PG&E with corrective actions the utility must take regarding an incident with a Cellon-treated pole that occurred in Danville, Calif. in 2020.
- Established specific metrics to systemically evaluate PG&E’s operational safety performance and to further implement the Enhanced Oversight and Enforcement Process imposed upon PG&E by the CPUC as a condition of approving PG&E’s plan for exiting bankruptcy in May 2020.
- Directed PG&E to take immediate action to reduce and mitigate customer impacts from the sudden loss of power due to PG&E’s execution of its Fast Trip program.
- Placed PG&E into the first step of the Enhanced Oversight and Enforcement Process based on the company’s failure to sufficiently prioritize clearing vegetation on its highest-risk power lines as part of its wildfire mitigation work in 2020, and conducted fact-finding to determine whether to recommend advancing PG&E further within the Enhanced Oversight and Enforcement Process.
- Directed PG&E to address its preparedness for Public Safety Power Shutoffs at a public briefing.
- Ordered PG&E to enhance its Public Safety Power Shutoff process.
- Ordered PG&E to create a mobile app for customers to report electric infrastructure safety concerns.
- Established standards, scope, and expectations for the Independent Safety Monitor that will provide safety monitoring information to the CPUC beginning in February 2022, also a condition of approving PG&E’s plan for exiting bankruptcy in May 2020.
- Continual monitoring of PG&E’s safety enhancement actions ordered in a CPUC 2012-2017 natural gas system locate and mark investigation.
- Continual monitoring of PG&E’s safety enhancement actions ordered in a CPUC 2017-2018 wildfires investigation.
- Ongoing monitoring and reporting of PG&E’s safety culture ordered in a 2015 investigation following PG&E’s 2010 natural gas transmission pipeline explosion in San Bruno.
Read more about these actions and other steps the CPUC is taking to hold PG&E accountable for safely serving its customers by visiting www.cpuc.ca.gov/industries-and-topics/pge.
For more information about the Independent Safety Monitor, visit www.cpuc.ca.gov/industries-and-topics/pge/independent-safety-monitor.
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.