Energy Law

Record $1.4B fine levied against gas company in fatal explosion and fire


A record $1.4 billion safety fine has been imposed by the California Public Utilities Commission concerning a 2010 gas pipeline rupture, explosion and fire that killed eight people, injured dozens of others and destroyed 38 homes in a San Bruno neighborhood.

The penalty against Pacific Gas & Electric follows determinations by two administrative law judges of 3,798 violations of state and federal law and regulations, according to Reuters.

The company has 30 days to appeal, but apparently does not plan to contest the amount of the fine: “We are accountable and fully accept that a penalty is appropriate,” PG&E said in a written statement provided to the Associated Press.

However, both a company spokesman and the city manager for the San Francisco suburb expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that most of the money will go to a state general fund, saying that they want the funds to pay for pipeline safety projects.

The Los Angeles Times (sub. req.) and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) also have stories.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “State lawyers may have stepped aside after disagreement over $2B fine sought in fatal gas fire”

ABAJournal.com: “New utility company indictment in fatal gas blast could lead to fines of as much as $1.3B”

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