PG&E hit with US$1.6 bil­lion fine over deadly blast in 2010

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

U.S. en­ergy gi­ant PG&E was hit with a US$1.6 bil­lion fine Thurs­day over the deadly 2010 ex­plo­sion in Cal­i­for­nia which left eight peo­ple dead, au­thor­i­ties said.

The Cal­i­for­nia Public Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion ( CPUC) said the fine was the heav­i­est ever im­posed by au­thor­i­ties in the state.

The dev­as­tat­ing Septem­ber 2010 pipe­line ex­plo­sion near the town of San Bruno, close to San Fran­cisco, de­stroyed around 30 homes.

“PG&E failed to up­hold the public’s trust. The CPUC failed to keep vig­i­lant. Lives were lost. Nu­mer­ous peo­ple were in­jured. Homes were de­stroyed. We must do ev­ery­thing we can to en­sure that noth­ing like this hap­pens again,” CPUC chief Michael Picker said in a state­ment.

Part of the fine will be used to up­grade the net­work of pipe­lines across Cal­i­for­nia in­clud­ing PG&E pipe­lines.

PG&E said in a sep­a­rate state­ment that the “lessons” of the San Bruno ex­plo­sion would not be forgotten.

It added that it had al­ready dis­trib­uted more than US$500 mil­lion to vic­tims of the blast and their fam­i­lies, es­tab­lished a US$50 mil­lion fund for the city of San Bruno and con­trib­uted more than US$70 mil­lion to­wards re­build­ing in the town.

PG&E — the Pa­cific Gas and Elec­tric Com­pany — dis­trib­utes en­ergy to around 16 mil­lion cus­tomers through­out north and cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia.

PG&E stock closed 1.55 per­cent lower on Wall Street Thurs­day, end­ing the day at US$52.78.

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