Earlier today, PG&E’s Deb Affonsa, vice president of Customer Service, and John Higgins, vice president of Safety and Health, sent this message (Feb. 10) to all PG&E employees after self-reporting a potential compliance issue with the CPUC:
Yesterday, PG&E self-reported to the CPUC that we are potentially out of compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation requirements regarding drug and alcohol testing. Specifically, PG&E’s Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) who answer a variety of calls including gas emergencies in our call centers are not currently included in the DOT testing program, as required by regulations. Currently, PG&E employs about 950 CSRs who handle gas emergency calls in addition to other types of customer calls.
Our team is still gathering the facts, but our commitment to you is to communicate openly and transparently whenever we find something that needs to be addressed.
While the CSRs are drug-tested as part of an employment requirement upon hiring, they are not in the random drug testing program on an ongoing basis. We were aware of this violation in April 2014, and possibly earlier. This is obviously a significant oversight on PG&E’s end and we are going to conduct a detailed review to determine how this happened.
Having said that, we’re not waiting to take action. While we are working on confirming the facts and relevant data in support of the self-report, we are also working with IBEW 1245, which represents our CSRs, and local leadership to get our CSRs who handle gas emergency calls into the DOT program as soon as possible. This process will be carefully coordinated to avoid conflicts with emergency response during storm season as well as to meet other call center compliance requirements.
We take compliance seriously and we see this as an opportunity to look across the company at our DOT drug testing requirements. PG&E is undertaking a detailed review of the facts and circumstances underlying the noncompliance in this self report to determine what caused the failures, and to institute changes intended to improve its future compliance performance.
Please continue to keep your focus on the safety of our customers, employees and contractors, as well as your own safety and health.
Deb Affonsa and John Higgins