PG&E's latest fire problem

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Sup. David Campos was at the fire on San Bruno Ave -- the one that burned for two hours before PG&E crews managed to shut off a gas pipeline, and he told me the situation was a disaster. "PG&E had apparently done some work on the pipe but hadn't documented it," he said. "Nobody was there when we needed to shut it off. Two hours -- that's unacceptable."

You'd think that after what happened in San Bruno, PG&E would have figured out how to respond to gas fires a little more quickly. You'd think someone in charge of that utterly screwed-up company would have made fire safety a priority. But no: Now PG&E has the normally quiet San Francisco fire chief pissed, has Campos calling for hearings on local gas pipeline safety and is on the proverbial hot seat again.

It's as if nobody over there cares. What's going to happen? The CPUC will impose a little fine? The city will demand some changes? So what? The monopoly utility can just ignore it all. The senior execs will still get their huge salaries and bonuses, any additional costs will be passed on to the ratepayers -- and one of these days, another pipe will blow up and kill a bunch of people, and PG&E will say: Ooh, sorry about that.

And the next time PG&E throws a couple of dollars at some civic project, the mayor will forgive all the past problems and talk about what a great company it is.

Why do we put up with this?