Two California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) administrative law judges ruled today (September 2) that Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) must pay $1.4 billion in fines and penalties for safety violations that led to the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion that resulted in eight deaths and 38 destroyed homes. It is the largest fine ever assessed by the regulator, but it is less than the $2.25 billion recommended by the CPUC staff.
The decision has to go to the five-member CPUC later. Previous fines bring the total to $2 billion. The utility was fined for almost 3800 violations of state and federal rules, standards, and regulations. The fines and penalties must come from shareholders, not ratepayers.
The decision came two hours and 35 minutes before the closing of the market, and PG&E stock rose sharply when the word got out, ending the day up 1.74 percent.