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Regulators Determining Who Will Pick Up Tab For PG&E Pipeline Upgrades

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The California Public Utilities Commission will decide on Thursday if they will adopt a new plan for repairs and upgrades to gas pipeline system. Their final decision will determine how PG&E shareholders and ratepayers will split the costs.

The CPUC is expected to go ahead with a long-awaited plan to improve PG&E's safety testing in the aftermath of the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion in 2010 that destroyed dozens of homes and killed eight people.

KCBS' Margie Shafer Reports:

Additionally, the CPUC commission will decide how much of PG&E's $2.2 billion plan to repair its pipeline system will be paid for by ratepayers—in the form of higher energy rates—or by the company's shareholders.

"Our view is that PG&E should pay all of these costs," said Thomas Long, legal director of The Utility Reform Network (TURN). "There is a proposed decision out that would require a 50/50 split of the costs. We think that is too generous to PG&E."

PG&E Executive VP of Gas Operations Nick Stavropoulos said that nearly $1 billion of shareholder's money has been invested in pipeline improvement over the last two years and that much more needs to be done.

"The commission still hasn't voted as whether or not we are going to see a recovery, but that didn't prevent us from doing all the work that we said needed to be done," he said.

Other lawsuits that are still pending will determine how much fines PG&E will pay related to the San Bruno Explosion.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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