Charges scapegoat PG&E after fact
Criminal penalties are warranted only if specific individuals are culpable.
The National Transportation Safety Board forensic report found that both the pipe material and the weld that failed were defective when originally installed in 1956. The report suggests the pipe that failed was not manufactured in a pipe mill; in other words, PG&E lost "material traceability" on day 1.
They may have assumed that the pups were just short pieces of the pipe grade specified for the project, but they were not. The most culpable person is the one who accepted the (now) obviously defective pup pieces as meeting the line pipe material specification requirements without carefully verifying their provenance. Everything else flowed from this error.
The latest attempt to hang the disaster on current PG&E staff smells of a "show trial" to satisfy the mob.
PG&E is still responsible to "make the victims whole." Nothing is gained in trying to find scapegoats more than 50 years after the fact.
Safety must come ahead of profits
What are they going to do, send all PG&E personnel to jail? The question is: Who should be charged with manslaughter?
PG&E's CEO Peter Darbee collected an estimated $34.6 million retirement bonus after he left the company, which was six months after the San Bruno explosion and fire.
PG&E will pay $6 million in penalties (chump change) for the disaster. All of us know we customers will pay for this. Penalties are supposed to be for punishing wrongdoing and making a statement that if someone knowingly commits a crime, it will come back on them.
Nothing will change in PG&E, or General Motors for that matter, if we don't punish real people for their bad decisions that kill others. They should not be able to hide in a corporation, make life-and-death decisions, and not worry about the consequences if someone gets killed.
"People" run companies, make the decisions, and get rewarded if things work out well. Those same people should be punished when things go very wrong.
Hold people responsible for decisions and watch what happens in the boardrooms.
Executive felonies evident at PG&E
I worked at, and then managed, a laboratory in Richmond for 50 years. We were subject to health and safety regulations administered by federal and state agencies, such as OSHA, and the company where I was employed.
Policies were installed, instilled and reinforced from the top down. Audits by government agencies were the norm. Managers were responsible for violations of safety policies. Workers could be punished, including severance, if they didn't follow procedures.
Surely PG&E has a sophisticated and expensive safety program that obviously wasn't followed. Since customers pay for everything, including profits, PG&E surely wouldn't fail to fund safety procedures. Therefore, individuals had to make decisions to ignore policies and procedures.
Start with the safety department of PG&E and find out who didn't do their job -- the result of which was deaths and property damage. Work up and down from there and charge the responsible people with felonies resulting in death. To be fair, do the same with government agencies.
Charges may stem PG&E's arrogance
I'm a Bay Area native, using a lifetime of PG&E energy. I'm also a stockholder who trusted them to exercise good management.
Now, the federal government will charge PG&E with a criminal indictment that will force the utility to act more responsibly. Good. It's about time that an arrogant PG&E is slapped into compliance with regulatory maintenance and record-keeping.
It's ironic PG&E wants to dig up or chop down every tree along the path of its gas pipelines. Had they been doing real maintenance checks on buried pipes, there might not be buildings or trees above those lines to remove now.
Any average idiot knew the infrastructure would get old and need a fix. Were there plans to check those underground pipelines? Too much paperwork's missing to be sure. And true to form, PG&E is alienating every municipality along its lines with their meat-ax approach to botanical murder.
I hope the feds win in court, put PG&E into receivership, and that this public deterrent scares every other utility into regulatory compliance. And the state Public Utilities Commission should be ashamed of itself for fostering the negligence perpetrated by PG&E.