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Paper says experts alarmed by PG&E pipeline surges

  • File - In this Sept. 9, 2010 file photo, a massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. PG&E is aggressively fighting what could be the costliest fallout yet from the deadly pipeline blast in San Bruno -- a lawsuit payout to explosion survivors that could reach billions of dollars. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has exceeded the designated maximum pressure on its natural gas pipelines more than 120 times since the 2010 deadly pipeline explosion in San Bruno, causing concerns among safety experts, according to company documents and a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In a May 2 internal email written by the utility's gas-division chief Nick Stavropoulos, initially obtained by the Chronicle (http://bit.ly/JuX0jO ) and provided to The Associated Press by PG&E on Sunday, Stavropoulos said the company had already recorded 40 pressure surges this year, in addition to 78 last year.

"We're really going to crack down" on such problems, Stavropoulos said in the email.

Additionally, there have been three more pressure surges since May 2, PG&E said in a statement.

"The vast majority of these were probably about two percent over the maximum pressure, while some were about a-tenth over maximum pressure, PG&E spokesman David Eisenhauer told the AP.

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