Advocates: CPUC must rehear San Bruno decision

SAN FRANCISCO — Consumer advocates and city officials are asking California regulators to reconsider a decision to approve a $299 million Pacific Gas & Electric Co. rate increase to help pay for pipeline inspections and upgrade costs following a 2010 fatal pipeline explosion.

The California Public Utilities Commission approved the company’s two-year plan in late December, allowing the utility to charge ratepayers for 55 percent of the safety upgrades’ long-term costs, overall.

Tuesday, officials from the cities of San Bruno and San Francisco as well as the commission’s own consumer advocacy branch, known as the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, asked the commission to rehear the decision.

The nonprofit Utility Reform Network made a similar request Monday for the commission to reconsider the ruling.

PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord says the utility will respond to the appeal through the regulatory process.

The Sept. 9, 2010, blast killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.