PG&E is supposed to be more vigilant and safety-oriented these days, after blowing up a cul de sac in 2010 and killing eight people in San Bruno, but as it happens, a lot of the inspectors they employee are lazy liars.
The Chron is reporting that PG&E has fired or suspended 8 employees and 11 contract workers in a scandal involving fraudulent inspections, at least 1,180 of them involving 1,500 pieces of underground equipment. They're now rushing to re-check all that equipment, which is primarily in the South Bay and Alameda County.
This all came about because of a whistleblower:
PG&E officials say an employee tipped supervisors that a colleague was certifying underground electrical switches and transformers in the San Jose area as safe without ever inspecting them. A probe of the accusation has led to the dismissals or suspensions of 14 workers and the finding that about two dozen inspections had not been carried out and another 50 were suspect, PG&E said.
These inspections seem primarily to do with underground enclosures used to house cables, transformers and switches, which can become corroded and lead to fires and explosions, like one manhole cover blast in Union Square in 2005 (and multiple others since then), which wounded a woman who later won a confidential settlement against the company.
The company hopes to have re-inspections complete by the end of the year to head off any further PR disasters, or tragedies.
Previously: PG&E Finally Admits Liability In San Bruno Blast