Dorian Hargrove 8:30 p.m., Dec. 12
Onell Soto reported yesterday that San Diego Gas and Electric Company has found a way to simulate deliveries of purified natural gas from the San Diego sewage treatment plant in Point Loma to the campus of the University of California at San Diego.
Originally, UCSD planned on having high-pressure storage trucks move the natural gas from Point Loma to UCSD, but with concerns and opposition from Point Loma residents prodding a change of plans, SDG&E will take the purified natural gas into its own pipe system and deliver a matching quantity to the UCSD campus.
As Soto describes it, the “accounting maneuver” will allow for the project to remain eligible for state funding. In addition, the usage of the delivered quantities of SDG&E natural gas will allow UCSD to generate electricity at less cost than if UCSD were buying electricity from SDG&E directly.
The move to increase UCSD dependency on underground natural gas pipelines comes only months after a high-pressure gas transmission line exploded and decimated the suburban neighborhood of San Bruno. That pipeline operator, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, has already pledged $100 million in immediate disaster response and recovery assistance for the families in about 50 homes that were damaged or destroyed after the initial detonation and subsequent gas-fed wildfire. PG&E is now currently estimating the the total cost to itself may be over $1 billion. If PG&E had followed National Incident Management System/Incident Command System standards leading up to, during and following the massive explosive wildfire, then PG&E would have been eligible for federal reimbursement of disaster response and recovery costs associated with the San Bruno incident.
PG&E may be eligible for a federal infrastructure liability shield due to the fact that the potential for failure of the gas transmission line had been previously disclosed to California's Public Utilities Commission, although PG&E's disclosure was not made in the context of local emergency hazard identification and community risk assessment to the residents of San Bruno. The local emergency planning commission with FEMA responsibility for San Bruno has so far not publicly acknowledged any disclosure by PG&E that would act as an obvious trigger of the federal infrastructure liability shield.