PG&E: Shareholders Will Pay For Pipeline Explosion Penalties, Not Customers

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Year In Review: 2010 Top News Stories

Flames erupt from an exploded gas pipeline in San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood, September 9, 2010. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Officials at Pacific Gas & Electric say customers will not be paying the massive fines being sought by state regulators in the deadly 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno, but that PG&E’s shareholders will bear that cost.

On Friday the utility said it thought the record $2.25 billion in fines being sought by state regulators is illegally excessive, but did not offer a specific dollar figure it considers reasonable.

In a 103-page filing submitted just before the close of business, PG&E said that it agrees with the California Public Utilities Commission’s finding that a financial penalty is appropriate for the September 2010 explosion that killed eight people.

But with shareholders already paying $2.2 billion in system upgrades and other improvements in response to the blast, a spokesman on Saturday said that amount should be applied to any penalty.

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