In response to the mayor of San Bruno's inquiry, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) committed last Friday to reroute the repaired 30-inch diameter transmission pipeline that failed Sept. 9 in a suburban San Bruno, CA, neighborhood killing eight people. The repaired pipeline will be moved away from the devastated area where 37 homes were destroyed and many others damaged.

Following a PG&E offer to buy homes that were destroyed or damaged by the explosion and fire (see Power Market Today, Oct. 21) when a section of the transmission pipeline (Line 132) failed, San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane met with PG&E utility President Chris Johns last Friday and told news media that the San Francisco-based combination utility was willing to reroute the pipeline.

A PG&E spokesperson on Monday confirmed this for NGI.

"We absolutely understand that no one wants the pipeline to be rebuilt in the neighborhood," the PG&E spokesperson said. "We, too, do not want to rebuild that line in that same location. Chris Johns told the mayor on Friday that we're committed to working with the city to evaluate all other available options."

A San Francisco-based PG&E spokesperson told NGI that the combination utility is offering to cover all the applicable expenses not covered by the individual homeowner's insurance, depending on which option is selected. In addition, PG&E is offering to provide cash bonuses for various options, exercised over given time periods. There are rebuild, sale and beautification options for the 55 destroyed or badly damaged properties, along with homes in the general broad impact area.

Following a six-hour state legislative joint hearing earlier in the month, it appears there will be increased expectations, if not new legislative mandates, for the California Public Utilities Commission to step up its oversight of the state's many thousands of miles of high-pressure, large-diameter transmission pipelines traversing heavily populated areas, such as San Bruno.

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