SAN FRANCISCO -- A man who says he was hired to help clean up PG&E's shoddy records system in the wake of the deadly San Bruno blast has sued the utility, alleging he was fired after resisting its efforts to mislead regulators.

Former Pacific Gas and Electric manager Christopher Surbey claims the utility used information he provided about the company's geographical mapping system to trick regulators into granting rate increases that would be spent in a "haphazard" fashion. He filed his suit Tuesday in San Francisco federal court.

PG&E characterized Surbey's claims as "inaccurate." Spokesman Greg Snapper said Surbey lost his job because of layoffs in late 2011, not retaliation. He was among about 200 people let go from the utility's then 1,800 member IT department as part of a reorganization.

Surbey claims he was hired by the utility in February 2011 to help the company fix its geographic information system, which contained data about the company's more than 6,000 miles of pipeline. Federal investigators who probed the 2010 PG&E gas line explosion in San Bruno found the utility's "incomplete and inaccurate pipeline information" as a contributing cause of the blast.

Eight people died in the fire and 38 homes were destroyed during the rupture and resulting fire.

Surbey says he was one of few PG&E's team leaders with experience on geographic information systems (GIS) when he came on board. He had been working in that field, including a stretch with South California Edison, for two decades. And for a time things went well with Surbey winning accolades for a successful GIS system update, the suit says.

But in the fall of 2011 he alleges the company used information he provided about needed fixes to the GIS to justify millions of dollars in rate hikes.

"PG&E was simply using the need for a GIS overhaul to request more money from (California Public Utilities Commission) with no intention of actually delivering an overhaul, instead spending the money elsewhere in a haphazard fashion," he claims.

The utility says the lawsuit contains numerous inaccuracies, including about Surbey's claims about his former position at the company. Though the suit alleges he was working on an update of the GIS system, that's not true, according to Snapper.

"He wasn't a full-time project manager on the gas system; someone else was leading that effort," Snapper said.

Surbey has demanded an unspecified amount of damages and attorney's fees. His lawyer Dow Patten didn't immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport. ___

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  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire is roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • APTOPIX Large Explosion

    A massive fire is roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. A massive fire burned homes as it roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in the hills south of San Francisco following a loud explosion Thursday evening that shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet into the air and sent frightened residents fleeing for safety, witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    Two cars burned after a massive fire roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    Firefighters douse a massive fire that roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. A massive fire burned homes as it roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in the hills south of San Francisco following a loud explosion Thursday evening that shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet into the air and sent frightened residents fleeing for safety, witnesses said. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A helicopter drops water on a massive fire through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A firefighter shoots water from his firehose at a massive fire, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 in a neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    A home destroyed after a massive fire that roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A vehicle and home destroyed after a massive fire that roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A home for sale sign is shown in front of three homes that were destroyed after a massive fire that roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    Firefighters race to massive fire that roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    Cars and homes destroyed after a massive fire that roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A helicopter drops water on a fire after an explosion in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Several homes were destroyed as a massive fire roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno. (AP Photo/Mike Adaskaveg)

  • Large Explosion

    Firefighters shoot water from their firehoses during a massive fire, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 in a neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

  • Large Explosion

    Firemen are seen outside burning homes after an explosion in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Several homes were destroyed as a massive fire roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno. (AP Photo/Mike Adaskaveg)

  • Large Explosion

    A helicopter drops water after an explosion in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Several homes were destroyed as a massive fire roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno. (AP Photo/Mike Adaskaveg)

  • Large Explosion

    Firefighters shoot water from their firehoses during a massive fire, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 in a neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. Live television footage showed more than a dozen homes destroyed, with flames reaching as high as 60 feet in the air as the fire incinerated everything in its path. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

  • Large Explosion

    A fire fighting helicopter flys over a massive fire, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 in a neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif. A local fire chief says a gas line explosion likely caused the massive fire burning homes in a residential neighborhood south of San Francisco. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. A massive fire burned homes as it roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in the hills south of San Francisco following a loud explosion Thursday evening that shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet into the air and sent frightened residents fleeing for safety, witnesses said. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A car is burned after a massive fire roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. A massive fire burned homes as it roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in the hills south of San Francisco following a loud explosion Thursday evening that shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet into the air and sent frightened residents fleeing for safety, witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. A massive fire burned homes as it roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in the hills south of San Francisco following a loud explosion Thursday evening that shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet into the air and sent frightened residents fleeing for safety, witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. A massive fire burned homes as it roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in the hills south of San Francisco following a loud explosion Thursday evening that shot a fireball more than 1,000 feet into the air and sent frightened residents fleeing for safety, witnesses said. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in the San Francisco suburb. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in the neighborhood south of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in the neighborhood south of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    A massive fire roars through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Firefighters from San Bruno and surrounding cities are battling the blaze that started on a hillside and is now consuming homes in the neighborhood south of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Large Explosion

    Alex Montoya carries shoes, clothes, and blankets after he was told to leave his home following an explosion in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Several homes were destroyed as a massive fire roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno. (AP Photo/Mike Adaskaveg)

  • Large Explosion

    A woman is treated by firemen after an explosion in San Bruno, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Several homes were destroyed as a massive fire roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in San Bruno. (AP Photo/Mike Adaskaveg)