California Fines SoCal Gas for Corroded Pipe Casings

The CPUC issued the fine after finding dozens of violations

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a citation for violations of a federal regulation on Southern California Gas Co. (SoCal Gas) totaling $2.25 million. The citation is based on forty-five violations of a federal regulation requiring that operators “take prompt remedial action to correct any deficiencies indicated by” external corrosion monitoring. According to the May 3, 2016 Investigation Report filed by the CPUC Safety and Enforcement Division (SED), SoCal Gas failed to repair 125 external corrosion control packages within the prescribed monitoring intervals, and 45 of those packages were deficient for at least two years. The SED issued citations for those 45 violations. The fine will go to the General Fund of the State Treasury.

None of these violations, however, were at the Aliso Canyon facility, where a well leak lasted for four months and forced hundreds of residents from their homes. All of the identified violations were located in the Harbor Corridor and Mid-City LA districts. Still, the findings do not bode well for the ongoing investigations into whether the Aliso Canyon leak was due to negligence or even intentional wrongdoing on the part of SoCal Gas – that leak is thought to also have been due to corrosion. It’s also interesting to note that the citation is for violations of a federal regulation; there is currently no evidence that the Aliso Canyon leak was caused by any violation of state energy regulations, partly because those regulations are far from demanding.