Mercury News portrait of PG&E is misleading
TheMercury News (Editorial, Oct. 26) painted a misleading picture regarding PG&E’s electric operations maintenance program, citing a 2015 California Public Utilities Commission audit to allege overdue maintenance work and inattention to safety. The facts tell a different story.
Starting in 2009, PG&E significantly strengthened maintenance and inspection standards for overhead lines in response to regulatory changes. In fact, we adopted standards that went beyond what the regulations require.
Lost in the editorial is that the backlog of work in the CPUC audit was relative to PG&E’s own more rigorous deadlines, and was in fact already complete.
The fact is that we set targets for completing certain work faster than the five-year window allowed. We do this to prioritize and accelerate projects that are most important to public safety. Target dates are classified in three day, three month, one year and five years.
In addition, the editorial failed to inform readers by the time the audit was released in late December 2015, the previous work backlog had been completed and work in Sonoma for the year of 2015, work was 99 percent completed.
Lastly, when The Mercury News compares PG&E’s backlog to other energy providers in the state, it’s comparing apples and oranges. Those providers chose different requirements and some allow themselves the full fiveyear window permitted by the regulations.
The reality is that PG&E has a strong track record of meeting timelines for routine maintenance work. — TimFitzpatrick, VP and Chief Communications Officer Pacific
Gas and Electric Company