California cities seek $2.25 billion in fines from PG&E for San Bruno explosion

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The city of San Bruno, the city and county of San Francisco and The Utility Reform Network filed what they believe the penalties and fines for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) should be for its alleged gross mismanagement and failure to safely operate a gas pipeline in the San Bruno explosion and fire.

This filing is the last stage in the almost three-year process following the Sept. 9, 2010 PG&E gas pipeline explosion.

The city of San Bruno recommended fines and penalties of $2.25 billion saying PG&E shareholders should foot the bill for the utility company's alleged gross negligence and failure to safely operate its gas pipeline system, which resulted in the death of 8 San Bruno residents, injuries to 66 and the destruction of 38 homes in the 2010 PG&E explosion and fire.

As part of total penalty package, the city said that PG&E shareholders should be fined at least $1.25 billion, which would go to California's general fund. Shareholders should foot the bill for another $1 billion in "disallowed costs" for PG&E's going-forward safety plan, and for "remedies" related to the disaster, such as payment for a pipeline safety trust, an independent monitor to make sure PG&E is making its pipelines safer, an emergency response fund and automatic shut-off valves.

If the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) were to consider and levy fines based on each violation, as it is obligated to do by law, the range of fines would exceed hundreds of billions of dollars, according to the city of San Bruno.

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POWERGRID International

June 2014
Volume 19, Issue 6
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ELECTRIC LIGHT & POWER

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