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PG&E, SCE Fined by California Regulators for Safety Violations

In separate actions Tuesday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) fined Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) $5.05 million for gas system infractions and fined Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) $8 million for an electrical system incident three years ago.

PG&E's still-beleaguered gas operations were cited for separate pipeline weld and valve maintenance violations in 2016 and 2017.

Regulators fined PG&E $4.05 million for violating federal rules in 2016 at a Deer Park, CA, facility in which a gas valve leaked and ignited, injuring workers. The second incident was last year in Yuba City, CA, in which a pipe was installed incorrectly, resulting in a $1 million citation.

The citations by the CPUC's Safety and Enforcement Division call into question the San Francisco-based combination utility's claims in recent years that the gas utility system is among the safest and most reliable in the nation.

SCE was given a citation for an incident in 2015 in the high desert town of Twentynine Palms, about 100 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

A crossarm supporting a 12kV overhead power line broke, sending a piece of the supporter to the ground, which left the power line dangling less than eight feet above the ground. A driver of an offroad vehicle and a second person were injured when the vehicle contacted the energized electric line.

The CPUC said SCE failed to ensure that the crossarm was capable of withstanding conditions normal to high winds in the area.

PG&E and SCE each were given 30 days to pay or appeal the citations.

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