A San Mateo County judge ordered Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Friday to shut down a major natural-gas pipeline running through San Carlos, after city officials obtained a company e-mail that raised doubts about the line's integrity and asked whether the utility was "sitting on another San Bruno situation."
Superior Court Judge George Miram ordered the 20-inch transmission line shut down "in a safe and effective manner." The city sought the action after learning about the e-mail written by a PG&E engineer in November, more than two years after the September 2010 explosion of a similar pipeline in San Bruno killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.
PG&E officials maintain that the San Carlos line is safe. Nevertheless, before Miram's ruling late Friday, the company told city officials it would reduce pressure on the pipe by 20 percent as PG&E worked to assure them of its safety.
San Carlos insisted that the line be shut down altogether. "All of those people we have talked to told us, 'This line is safe, " said Jay Walter, the city's director of public works. "Then we get handed the e-mail, which quite clearly indicated that they have some real concerns about this."