On April 9, 2015, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) voted unanimously to assess Pacific Gas & Electric Company (“PG&E”) a $1.6 billion penalty for its role in the San Bruno pipeline explosion. The explosion, which occurred on September 9, 2010, resulted in the deaths of eight people and injuries to 58 people, as well as the destruction and/or damage to many homes and city infrastructure. The transmission pipeline was owned and operated by PG&E.
The penalty to be assessed against PG&E is the highest that has been imposed in California’s history. The CPUC ultimately approved the recommendation made by CPUC President Michael Picker, which was $200 million more than a penalty proposal made by the administrative law judge presiding over the proceedings last year. The penalty includes allocations of: $850 million for gas transmission pipeline safety infrastructure improvements; $300 million to the state’s General Fund; $400 million in a one-time bill credit spread across PG&E’s gas customers and approximately $50 million for other remedies to enhance pipeline safety.
In a statement released to the public after the release of the decision, PG&E Chairman and CEO Tony Earley stated that he did not expect that PG&E would appeal the penalty, expressed renewed apologies for the explosion and emphasized a renewed company focus on safety.
To view the decision adopted by the CPUC, click here.