Valero sues PG&E for power outage at Benicia refinery in May


SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — Valero Refining Company-California filed a suit against PG&E on Friday, claiming it suffered $75 million damage when the utility shut off electricity to its Benicia refinery in May.

The suit alleges PG&E, which provides primary and backup electrical power to the refinery, caused both power supplies to go down simultaneously without prior notice on May 5.

The unexpected and unplanned power outage caused Valero damage in excess of $75 million to critical refinery equipment, lost revenue and other damages, according to the suit filed in federal court in Sacramento.

The suit also contends PG&E negligently designed, operated and maintained its electrical system.The power outage caused an emergency shutdown of the entire

The power outage caused an emergency shutdown of the entire refinery, causing extensive flaring, emissions and significant damage to the refinery equipment, according to Valero.

Emergency shutdown and safety systems worked properly and averted potentially severe consequences, but the damage from the abrupt loss of power means the refinery was out of service for more than a month and caused substantial damage to Valero, company officials said.

In a written response to the suit, PG&E said it has engaged an outside, third-party engineering firm to review the 18-minute power outage on May 5, and it continues to partner with Valero and the city of Benicia to prevent similar power disruptions.



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