PG&E Violations - Specific

Back to Home Page

Below are some violations specific to the pipeline in Mountain View.

1. Who is responsible for homeowner awareness of the existence of the pipeline in their yards?

It seems to be PG&E's position that it is the homeowner's responsibility to know that we have a pipeline in our back yards. The PG&E web page entitled "Natural Gas Pipeline Rights-of-way" states that the title report will typically identify the presence of a gas pipeline.

My title report does not mention the existence of a gas pipeline, let alone a 2' gas pipeline. A high-ranking civil engineer with the city of Mountain View examined the neighbor's documentation, and found no evidence that would lead him to suspect on the basis of it that a pipeline might be present in the yard.

So, where does the responsibility really lie? Is it the title company's fault that the pipeline is not indicated? Perhaps so.
Does PG&E have any responsibility to ensure that homeowners are aware of the presence of the PG&E pipe? It is reasonable to think that it would.

Let us examine federal law, as given in Title 49, Subchapter D – Pipeline Safety:

Part 195.440 Public awareness.
(a) Each pipeline operator must develop and implement a written continuing public education program
(e) The program must include activities to advise affected municipalities, school districts, businesses, and residents of pipeline facility locations.

Legally, it seems that PG&E did have the responsibility to ensure that homeowners were aware, but it was simply not done. If it had been done, then there would not have been almost universal surprise on the part of the homeowners when PG&E informed us in July, 2012.

Perhaps PG&E simply has not had time to complete this. But wait, there is more:

(h) Operators in existence on June 20, 2005, must have completed their written programs no later than June 20, 2006.

It is clear that it is PG&E's responsibility to let homeowners know that there is a 2' pipeline in their back yard.


2. Patrolling

According to federal law, Subchapter D – Part 192.705 Transmission lines: Patrolling, Class 3 locations such as ours must be patrolled at least twice a calendar year. A PG&E representative told homeowners that PG&E has been patrolling our pipelines by "walking the line." It is unclear if that was a genuine claim that PG&E had actually walked the line over the recent decade, or if it was merely an attempt to mislead us by stating that the general patrolling method of PG&E, whenever it does patrolling, is to walk the line. Therefore, it is unclear if PG&E actually claims to have done any patrolling by walking the line in our area over the recent decade. However, the evidence seems extremely clear, so much so that it is most likely sufficient as to be demonstrable in a court of law, that PG&E physically could not have walked the line in our area for at least a decade, and perhaps much longer.