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PG & E security probe: The company can only try to “check the boxes”, says the referee

A state legislature expressed skepticism about the extent of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s commitment to security two weeks before…

A state legislature expressed skepticism about the extent of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s commitment to security two weeks before the terrible Camp Fire put the utility’s practice under renewed public scrutiny.

Peter Allen, an administrative judge of the California Public Utilities Commission, made the views in connection with a survey of PG & E’s corporate culture launched in 2015 in response to the fatal 2010 San Bruno pipeline blast. In a proposal for a decision to use the tool to implement the results of a 2017 review, Allen questioned whether PG & E had gone far enough to prioritize security throughout the organization.

“While we generally encourage PG & E’s response to (the review) we continue to worry about whether PG & E really change their culture, or just trying to” check the boxes “, Allen wrote in the proposed decision on October 25. [1

9659004] The proposed decision will be considered by the commission when it meets November 29 in San Francisco.

The security investigation has become more important thanks to Camp Fire burning east of Chico in Butte County.

Government fire investigators are still watching the match cause Brand – the most destructive and lethal wilderness in California history – but the tool can be blamed. PG & E have said that two parts of their equipment are inadequate in the fire area, one short before the fire started and the other shortly thereafter.

The survey covers both Pacific Gas and Electric and its investor-owned parent company PG & E Corp. [19659004] Michael Picker, Public Service Officer One has said that he wants to expand the ongoing safety investigation for PG and E to include new fires. And he said to Chronicle he agrees with Allen’s proposal for a decision.

“The tool has done a lot of things that make us safer, yet not to the level we expect,” Picker said Wednesday.

In the proposed order, Allen said that PG & E “seems to have exaggerated multiple experts’ security skills” on the company’s board during previous investigations.

“This commission wants the PG & E to have a genuine and effective security culture that penetrates the organization, not just a thin veneer or window liner that looks superficially but fails under stress,” writes Allen.

PG & E has reported that it complies with the 61 safety guidelines 2017 assessment aimed at the tool and has promised to implement most of them by the end of this year. Recommendations include adding security to the list of qualifications PG & E is used to elect independent board members, implement a broad reassessment of company security programs and accelerate security training training for crew members.

“While the full extent of a new phase of the CPUC Security Culture Process has not been communicated yet, PG & E welcomes every opportunity to get feedback from our regulator as we strive to constantly improve,” said Tamar Sarkissian, a spokesperson for PG & E. “Wildfires spreads to prices we have never seen before and we have to work together in all sectors and disciplines to address this issue urgently.”

Since the tool is trying to make improvements, some of the most critical critics are still worried about security issues.

“I’m very concerned that PG & E continue to have problems following the basic rules to safely run their system,” said Mark Toney, Executive Director of Utility Reform Network , which has been involved in the investigation. “Unfortunately, the consequences of this failure can be devastating to all.”

Revisio One of the PG & E for 2017 was conducted for the commission by the NorthStar Consulting Group. In a report that ran more than 330 pages, NorthStar said that it believes “PG & E’s executive management is safe,” which is field workers, and notes that “no one wants to be uncertain.” The report also identified important shortcomings in PG & E’s strategy “

” Although PG & E is committed to safety and efforts have been made to reduce incidents and increase the organizational focus on security, these efforts have been somewhat reactionary – driven of immediate needs and an understandable sense of urgency rather than a comprehensive business-wide strategy to address security, “said the NorthStar report.

NorthStar completed the PG & E rapidly relocated to address gas system problems revealed by the San Bruno explosion, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. But the tool was slower in terms of the organization’s more general security culture, the report said.

While Picker now wants PG & E’s fire protection to be answered as part of the security investigation, he said he is still designing a formal plan to make it happen.

“Again, it’s not about the fires, and it’s not even about San Bruno. It’s really how you measure whether the organization is from top to bottom, really addressing security in a conscious day by day, hour by hour ? “Said picker “It’s not enough to have slogans. It’s not what you think – that’s what you do.”

As the survey progresses, PG & E’s boarding up can be viewed under review, according to Picker. He noted that the company still has several Board members who were in place at the time of the pipeline explosion, which he said “does not send a proper statement of responsibility”.

But Picker is not yet sure if the Commission can force PG & E to change its board members. The tool and its negotiated parent have technically separate boards, but they share the same 12 members. Various Board members are chairmen of the two units.

“There will be clear arguments about whether we have the power to do that,” he said. “It just seems to me that it’s a necessary question to discuss.”

J.D.Morris is a staff writer in San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @thejdmorris

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