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Briefs -- California Wildfire Costs | TGP's Connecticut Expansion

Pacific Gas and Electric Co.(PG&E) has suspended its dividend payout out of concerns over findings of liability for California wildfires this fall. With the Thomas fire in Southern California still not totally contained, the San Francisco-based combination utility said the dividend suspension was "prudent with respect to cash conservation." The utility, which is the focus of an ongoing fire probe reportedly has lost close to one-third of its market value or an estimated $11 billion since a series of fires ravaged parts of the service territory in Northern California. Utilities that serve Southern California are facing similar hurdles related to other wildfires. Regulators denied a request for $379 million in rate recovery for costs incurred 10 years ago for wildfires involving San Diego Gas and Electric Co. facilities.

Approximately 16,500 gallons hydrostatic test wastewater were released Nov. 20 from a portable storage tank at the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC (TGP) compressor station 261 in Agawam, MA, without the Kinder Morgan Inc. affiliate's permission, according to a TGP filing at FERC [CP14-529]. TGP said it was notified of the discharge by a contractor Nov. 27, and it then contacted theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection about the incident Nov. 28. The discharged water had been used to test TGP's Connecticut Expansion Project, which would expand natural gas delivery capability to the Northeast, accessing supply from the Marcellus Shale.

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