Thursday, June 30, 2011

PG&E may be assessed $26 million fine for 2008 natural gas explosion

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - State regulators might finally penalize PG&E $26 million for a deadly pipeline explosion that occurred nearly two years before the blast in San Bruno.

On Christmas Eve 2008, a pipeline exploded in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova, killing one person and injuring five others. A federal investigation into the incident revealed that PG&E was in violation of several safety requirements.

Despite those findings, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) only opened a penalty case against PG&E in December 2010, after the San Bruno explosion had brought pipeline safety under close public scrutiny.

Now, CPUC staff has announced a settlement that would fine the utility $26 million in shareholder funds for its failure to comply with safety regulations. The settlement must still be approved by the full commission.

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