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California alleges utility falsified pipeline safety records

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2010, file photo, a massive fire following a pipeline explosion roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. The California Public Utilities Commission said Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, that an investigation by its staff found Pacific Gas & Electric Co. lacked enough employees to fulfill requests to find and mark natural gas pipelines. A U.S. judge fined the utility $3 million after it was convicted of six felony charges for failing to properly maintain a natural gas pipeline that exploded south of San Francisco in 2010, killing eight people. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SAN FRANCISCO — Regulators are accusing one of California’s largest utilities of falsifying safety documents on natural gas pipelines over a five-year period.

The California Public Utilities Commission said Friday that an investigation by its staff found Pacific Gas & Electric Co. lacked enough employees to fulfil requests to find and mark natural gas pipelines.

Regulators say that because of the staff shortage, PG&E pressured supervisors and locators to complete the work, leading staff to falsify data from 2012 to 2017.

A U.S. judge fined the utility $3 million after it was convicted of six felony charges for failing to properly maintain a natural gas pipeline that exploded south of San Francisco in 2010, killing eight people.

PG&E didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Associated Press