Mer­cury News por­trait of PG&E is mis­lead­ing

The Mercury News Weekend - - OPINION -

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

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