PG&E warned its shareholders that deficiencies in its leak detection procedures could result in a major catastrophe. It further warned that the economic cost of the catastrophe could jeopardize the utility’s financial condition. But it didn’t warn its customers.
According to its 2009 Annual Report, PG&E reviewed its own gas leak survey practices in 2008 and found that "improvements needed to be made."
It further acknowledged that its practices were under investigation by outside agencies and that, in the event of a "hazard or liability" (corporate speak for "explosion"),
the Utility’s insurance may not be sufficient or effective to provide recovery.
Neither PG&E nor its shareholders can say the situation leading to the San Bruno explosion caught them by surprise.
Not so for the people of San Bruno.
Thanks to a reader for sending this along.
PG&E 2009 Annual Report (pdf 124 pages)