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July 5, 2011 > Calif. utility: pipeline pressures were too high

Calif. utility: pipeline pressures were too high

SAN FRANCISCO (AP), Jul 01 - Pacific Gas & Electric Co. officials revealed this week the company had been running some of its natural gas pipelines at higher pressure levels than what is recommended by federal safety authorities because the utility had wrongly classified its transmission lines.

The company did a system-wide study of its transmission lines to confirm whether they were correctly designated according to federal regulations in response to an order from the California Public Utilities Commission following September's deadly explosion in San Bruno, which killed eight.

CPUC Executive Director Paul Clanon called the revelation a serious failure with serious safety repercussions on Friday. The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration requires utilities to perform more stringent inspections on lines that run through highly populated areas.

``We hope we're nearing the end of the revelations about PG&E's poor safety efforts,'' Clanon said in a statement. ``PG&E faces another investigation and more potential fines.''

The company already has lowered pressure on some lines, PG&E said in its letter filed with the state on Thursday.

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