Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pacific Gas & Electric: Wanted for Murder in San Bruno, CA

Or negligent homicide in any case. If Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) cared about anything besides their balance sheet, they would have prevented last week’s raging inferno in San Bruno, CA which killed at least four people and destroyed dozens of homes.

In 2007, PG&E requested permission from the Public Utilities Commission for a $5 million rate increase. This $5 million was requested specifically so PG&E could repair a section of the exact same natural gas line that exploded last week.

The Public Utilities Commission granted PG&E the $5 million rate hike, with the understanding that PG&E would repair the gas line in 2009. It never got done.

A spokesperson for the Utility Reform Network said:

“And they said they would replace that section in 2009 and the Public Utilities Commission gave them that money.”

When PG&E requested the $5 million rate hike so they could repair that gas line, their written statement said:

“A pipe failure has a potential impact radius of 415 feet” and “the risk of a failure at this location is unacceptably high.”

They got that right.

Give Wall Street a trillion dollars to keep the economy from collapsing, and Wall Street keeps the money and gives everybody else the finger. Give Pacific Gas & Electric $5 million to prevent a deadly pipe explosion, and the pipe explodes anyway.

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Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

Business as usual. California really needs to elect Meg Shitman now, so events like this can become as common as the sniffles in October.

September 16, 2010 at 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Now get ready to be shocked, shocked I tell you at what you willbe reading at this link. PG&E spent millions trying to defeat prop 16 here in California and oh by the way, hand out 5 million in bonuses to its executives. I told ya you would be shocked didn't I?
Nothing like corporate welfare at the expense of the taxpayer is there?


September 16, 2010 at 7:59 PM  
Blogger Demeur said...

Should we really be shocked? Bail outs for Wall Street, give aways to the insurance companies and the oil companies have our politicians well lubed.

September 16, 2010 at 8:26 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

It's becoming more and more clear that America is a dangerous place to live, not because of violent crime, which amazingly given what the economy is like is down, but because of the greed, incompetence and sheer stupidity of corporate decision makers.

Let's see, just this year 11 died thanks to BP executives. Some 1,500 that we know about were seriously sickened by two Iowa egg producers' salmonella-contaminated products — that one of them was aware of before all hell broke loose. Some 29 miners died in West Virginia (up from the 25-miner death toll of 2009), and now, seven or more died in San Bruno because of PG&E.

Yet, somehow, nobody winds up in prison. People seeking reparations get slow-walked past the point where they can afford lawyers to go after the company that harmed them or their injured or deceased loved ones, while others settle for what the company is willing to give rather than tie up their lives for decades.

It's no wonder few if any companies take any lessons from the deadly screw-ups of other companies. There's no deterrence at all.

I'm at the point of believing that when people are damaged for life or killed, the whole concept of white collar crime should go out the window, and those responsible should face criminal charges. Justice should be swift and severe, with the convicted going from executive suite to cell block within a few months at most.

Then, and only then, will we have justice for victims and effective deterrence to reverse this trend.

September 17, 2010 at 1:47 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Corporations are people, with all the attendant rights and privileges, except when they do bad stuff, then they are abstractions responsible for nothing.

C'mon, you should know that by now.

September 17, 2010 at 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

@Demeur, no I was being sarcastic, I need to probably put a little disclaimer sometimes. :)

September 17, 2010 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

The very idea of the corporation has been corrupted. Two centuries ago the privilege of creating a joint-stock organization was granted by the government so that that organization could accomplish a particular goal for the common good. This could be building a bridge, opening a port, establishing and maintaining international trade or any number of other endeavors but the point was that the company existed to accomplish a task. Those people that took a financial risk by fronting the money were allowed to profit if the task was well accomplished.

Presently, though, the task has been divorced from the purpose. Corporations exist in perpetuity and their only function is to produce profit for their owners, specifically their wealthiest and most powerful owners, to the exclusion of all else.

And, surprise surprise, the tasks to which the corporations are set, they generally don't do very well.

September 17, 2010 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

In the Corporate idiocracy, the main problem is that there are too many useless eaters, wasting away valuable resources. Our corporate overlords are always looking for news ways to blow us up, poison us, or make death by misadventure look attractive. And if they're real creative about, as the wonderful executives at PG&E seem to be, they can also fleece the same people they're trying to off for a couple more dollars too.

September 17, 2010 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

JR: Yup, standard operating procedure. No doubt, Shitman will make things even worse.

Jess: You're right, I'm just shocked. Shocked! I had no idea such a standup company would do such things.

Demeur: If our politicians were any more lubed, they'd be drowning in it.

SW: Excellent comment. You've got it dialed. The concept of white collar crime definitely needs to go. If somebody kills or injures another person -- whether with a gun or through negligence motivated by greed -- that person needs to pay, quickly and severely.

Randal: And corporations have feelings too. I feel awful about those mean things I wrote about PG&E.

Thomas: Excellent historical rundown. Thanks. Something needs to be done about this, but what, and how to do it, I have no idea.

Lew: Yup, that seems to be the philosophy. Fleece people to the max, then kill them.

September 17, 2010 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger TomCat said...

I understand that most of the $5 million went to executive bonuses.

September 18, 2010 at 10:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

TC: I think some of the money went to executive bonuses and some went toward promoting a statewide ballot measure that would have made it impossible for local communities to switch from a private utility to a municipal-run utility. (The measure got trounced.) Either way, none of the money went toward the safety and maintenance that the money was supposed to be earmarked for.

September 18, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Waylon said...

SO i Have a question is there anybody who is actually responsible to make sure the grant went where it was suppose to go? and if so that person along with the top dawgs of PG&E should be charged with the deaths and damages these people are dealing with

September 22, 2010 at 5:33 PM  

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