PG&E agrees to pay $65M to settle California records claims

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has agreed to pay $65 million to settle California claims that it falsified records about how it notified construction workers about underground gas and electric lines.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, regulators alleged that PG&E employees frequently misrepresented how quickly they responded to excavators’ requests to locate and mark gas pipelines. The company also was accused of failing to provide enough qualified workers to help flag electric cables.

California’s Public Utilities Commission says failures in the notification system contributed to 67 cases where crews struck underground lines while excavating, although nobody died.

The Chronicle says PG&E sent employees an email Thursday in which executives called the problems unacceptable.

In addition to the payment, the utility agreed to reforms that include increasing staffing and training.