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PG&E Postponed Pipeline Fix in San Bruno

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San Bruno, CAThe governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has asked Washington to declare San Bruno a federal disaster in light of the gas pipeline explosion that ripped the suburb apart September 9th.

"This event has destroyed and caused serious damages to homes, infrastructure, and other public facilities in San Mateo County," Schwarzenegger said in a letter to President Obama. "The response and recovery costs for this event are estimated at nearly $10.4 million." Federal disaster status would free up federal money to cover the cost of repairing/rebuilding the neighborhood.

However, reports are now emerging that Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) had already raised $5 million through rate increases to fix the ailing pipeline, but never spent the funds to do the work. The pipeline that ran underneath San Bruno was laid down in 1948.

CNN.com is reporting that "TURN [The Utility Reform Network] also said the utility asked for another $5 million for the same project in 2009 -- the year it should have completed the work it hasn't even started -- saying it wouldn't be completed until 2013."

Although the utility has stated that the section of pipeline underneath San Bruno had been identified as a high priority project, it rescheduled the project following an updated assessment in 2009, however the precise reasons for rescheduling were apparently not explained.

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