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PG&E's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

So let me start with the first point, the gas issues. The new gas organization we put in place last year has delivered on our key commitments and made impressive progress in 2011. And Chris and Nick will give you the update on the details in just a couple of minutes. What you'll hear is that we still got an extremely demanding amount of work ahead in 2012. Much of this falls under our Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan. It's work that is critical to meeting the new pipeline safety standards being adopted by the CPUC and in Congress. It's also essential to resolving the San Bruno issues and rebuilding public trust and confidence in the company. At the same time, it's important to distinguish between the work that was necessary to close the gaps in our past performance and work that's newly required going forward.

Our Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan is largely new work for a new world, where the CPUC is setting future safety standards at a higher level than ever before. With minor exceptions, it's not all work to meet yesterday's standards as some have claimed. To avoid confusion, we've already asked the CPUC to separate the review of the appropriateness of the plan over the issue of who should pay for the plan.

You've seen our press release this morning that although we're maintaining our guidance from earnings from operations, we've updated our outlook for 2012 pipeline costs. The update reflects our current understanding of our cost based on the experience that we gained in the field last year. We've also made some conservative assumptions about the timing of the CPUC's ruling on our safety plan. Let me underscore that we're going to continue to work hard to accelerate a decision on a safety plan and to resolve all of the gas-related proceedings at the commission.

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