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.

Reader Comments

5 Replies to “California Fines SoCal Gas for Corroded Pipe Casings”

  1. So, isn’t this $2.25M fine a de facto tax on taxpayers, rather than a fine on a corporation? The utility will pass on the fine to ratepayers, won’t it? $2.25M is peanuts in the grand scheme of things, but I wonder about the rigor (or lack thereof) in how the CPUC disallows certain expenses from being covered by rates. I could be wrong, but my sense is that these fines rarely come out of shareholders’ pockets and NEVER come out of managers’ pockets, so it ends up as essentially a tax covering the costs of mismanagement.

    1. Conservative websites like Newsmax will write an article about any solitary study that agrees with their narrative, while at the same time ignoring a hundred studies that disagree. It is blatant cherry-picking and the most transparent form of intellectual dishonesty.

        1. I’m not sure if you intended to, but you posted the same link that you posted in your previous comment.

          Regardless, you didn’t seem to address my point. Lindzen is part of a vanishingly thin slice of climate scientists who disagree with the significance of anthropogenic global warming. Your article refers to a recent study as well as an older one from 2011, but conveniently ignores a multitude of studies that disagree with the conservative narrative. For perspective, the most recent IPCC assessment report was based on 9,200 peer-reviewed studies.

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About Sarah

Sarah Duffy is a Shapiro Fellow in Environmental Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. Her research interests include water conservation, state-level climate change poli…

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