Pacific Gas and Electric Co. agreed Thursday to pay an unusual gas-safety-related fine of $3 million for what state regulators called “willful non-compliance” with orders to provide key documents about transmission pipelines.

At issue was the utility’s response to a state Public Utilities Commission order for paperwork by March 15 vouching for the safety of pressure levels for 1,805 miles in PG&E’s gas-transmission system. The agency issued the demand after a PG&E pipeline in San Bruno exploded Sept. 9, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes.

Instead of providing specifics when it made its reply filing last week, PG&E cited historical records to justify gas-pressure levels on 455 miles and admitted it had no documentation for an additional 140 miles.

Agency staffers then suggested that PG&E be fined as much as a $1 million for every day it fails to produce the documents, a proposal the five-member commission endorsed Thursday.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 2011

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