PG&E using Cow Palace to check documents


After September's pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes, PG&E is facing a state Public Utilities Commission order to produce records on its pipelines by March 15.

The utility has been shipping pallets loaded with boxes of documents to the Cow Palace in Daly City, where PG&E employees are pouring through the paper records.

The arena is usually used for concerts, home shows and other events,

"This effort is an example of the level of commitment the company is putting forward to make sure this process is thorough and complete," PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said.

Moreno did not know how many employees were checking documents but said it was part of a 24-hour search by more than 300 employees. Searches were also being conducted at other locations, he said.

He did not know when PG&E had started work in the arena, or how long the utility would be using it.

The document search comes after investigators found a seam with inferior welds that was believed to be the origin of the blast.

PG&E's computer records had shown the pipeline did not have a seam, but PG&E officials have acknowledged problems when the old paper records were incorporated into the utility's computer system.

PG&E President Chris Johns said last month the utility had been unable to find documents for 30 percent of its 1,000-plus miles of pipeline running under urban areas.

A call by The Associated Press to Cow Palace offices on Saturday seeking comment on the use of its facility by PG&E was not immediately returned.

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