Clearly, any assessment of PG&E’s sustainability performance today must confront and account for the far-reaching impacts and the implications of the fatal gas pipeline explosion and fire that occurred in September 2010 in San Bruno.
This tragedy claimed eight lives, seriously injured many others and destroyed dozens of homes in a residential neighborhood just outside of San Francisco.
The San Bruno accident and the issues that emerged amid the intense scrutiny in the search for its cause have raised serious and difficult questions for our company. Over the past year, these issues have led regulators, policy-makers and other investigators to publicly criticize and call into question past and present aspects of PG&E’s management of its operations. In turn, these concerns have diminished trust and confidence among many valued stakeholders.
Within the company, the events of September 9 and the investigations that have followed have challenged us to thoroughly reassess PG&E’s performance. Today, we are in the midst of an across-the-board overhaul of PG&E’s operating practices, the integrity of our infrastructure (especially those assets that have been in service for many decades) and our company culture, including our focus on public safety.
Our plans have identified a number of areas in which it is evident that we must make major improvements. Indeed, in a number of areas, we have already made significant changes within PG&E. These include reorganizing and in some cases replacing senior management, implementing new operating practices and updating our gas pipeline infrastructure. As this process continues to move forward, we fully expect that additional changes will be necessary.
Our commitment is to implement whatever changes are needed to raise the safety of PG&E’s systems and our operations to an industry-leading standard and to prevent another tragedy like the San Bruno accident from ever happening again. In parallel, we are committed to earning back public trust and confidence through the actions we take to implement the lessons and address the challenges that have been brought to the forefront in the past year.
The impact of the San Bruno accident continues to be felt in San Bruno and at PG&E. The information presented here on the accident and our ongoing response is in no way meant to minimize the magnitude of the tragedy. Instead, it is to provide stakeholders with an update on the lessons we’ve learned and the steps we've taken to ensure a tragedy like the one in San Bruno never happens again.