- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) imposed a $50,000 penalty on Pacific Gas & Electric for not adequately maintaining security at the Metcalf substation, a failure that allowed a burglary in August 2014. The CPUC also ordered further investigation of the incident.
- The burglary came just over a year after an April 2013 armed assault on the San Jose, CA, facility. An investigation of the burglary by the commission’s Safety and Enforcement Division identified multiple security gaps that it concluded PG&E should have better managed.
- The fine was imposed for a lack of operational safety and security. The preliminary investigation discovered that inadequately trained on-site security personnel were unaware of the August 2014 theft despite the fact that multiple alarms went off during the August 2014 break-in.
The August 2014 burglary was discovered by utility construction crews the next morning. Some $40,000 in PG&E construction equipment was taken when fences were breached in several places. No one has been arrested in the theft.
Before the theft, PG&E promised to spend $100 million over three years on substation security upgrades including at the Metcalf station and announced permitting and preliminary security improvements had begun. It proposed better fences, improved lighting, better security cameras, better communication with local law enforcement, and altered landscaping as measures it would take. Watchdog groups like The Utility Reform Network (TURN) had said they were monitoring PG&E’s efforts.
At 1:00 am on April 16, 2013, gunmen cut the Metcalf substation’s telephone cables, knocked out the transformers during 19 minutes of gunfire, and then disappeared by 1:50 am, leaving a facility that was not fully operational again for 27 days.