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Calif. congresswoman: PG&E can't find key records

Associated Press Modified: January 28, 2011 at 7:01 pm •  Published: January 28, 2011

The utility responsible for a gas pipeline that blew up in a San Francisco suburb cannot find key records needed to set safe pressures for nearly a third of its largest transmission lines, a congresswoman said Friday.

Regulators ordered Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and other California utilities to produce such documents following last month's revelation that records about the exploded line in San Bruno were wrong.

However, Rep. Jackie Speier said PG&E President Chris Johns told her his staff cannot locate any testing records for 30 percent of the lines coursing through urban areas.

"You need to know what's in the ground, and I don't believe they know that," said Speier, a California Democrat who represents the San Bruno area. "This tells me they have shoddy record-keeping."

PG&E spokesman Brian Swanson did not immediately confirm or deny the congresswoman's statement. The company is still in the process of reviewing and validating its pipeline records, he said.

In December, PG&E disclosed it had inaccurate documents about the pipeline that exploded in San Bruno on Sept. 9, sparking a gigantic fireball that killed eight people and destroyed more than three dozen homes.

PG&E records showed the pipe was seamless, but investigators found the spine of the ruptured line had a type of weld that's now being examined in the search for a cause of the explosion.

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