Don Bauder 9 p.m., Aug. 22
PG&E could get stiffest fine ever for San Bruno blast negligence
Safety division recommends shareholders pick up tab, not ratepayers
The state agency investigating the 2010 horrific San Bruno blast recommended today (May 6) that Pacific Gas & Electric pay $2.25 billion for its negligence and spend $2.25 billion to make its gas transmission system safe. "This penalty will be the largest penalty ever assessed to a utility company," said the Consumer Protection and Safety Division of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The good news is that neither the fine nor the capital expenditures should be picked up by ratepayers, according to the recommendation; shareholder should bear the entire burden, said the division. A CPUC commission judge will make the decision on the penalty later this month.
The division spared few words: the accident was the worst of any electric or gas utility in the history of California, and "the serious failure by PG&E to detect and prevent this explosion, leading up to (and during) the incident, was morally and ethically reprehensible," said the division. "PG&E had literally no idea that the flawed pipe sections that ruptured were there." PG&E stock is down $1.59% to $46.50.
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