SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco suburb hit by a deadly gas-line blast in 2010 is supporting a proposed tougher penalty for Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane said Tuesday that his city backs a plan to add another $200 million to the penalty proposed for PG&E.
“In all of this adventure we’ve been through the last 4-and-a-half years, we have to go back to that evening,” Ruane said. “Eight people lost their lives.”
Federal investigators faulted PG&E in the fiery pipeline blast that also injured 66 people and destroyed dozens of homes.
The California Public Utility Commission proposed slapping PG&E with a $1.6 billion fine — making it the largest ever made in CPUC history.
“We believe this historic penalty sends the right message that gross negligence, corruption and profits-over-safety will no longer be tolerated,” Ruane said.
But PG&E spokesperson Greg Snapper wouldn’t say if the utility agrees entirely with the record fine. He did say that $300 million of it could be funneled into the state’s general fund.
“We just hope that every single dollar goes right back into the gas system [and] automated valves,” Snapper said.
San Bruno’s mayor is also demanding more safety reforms, like establishing a fund dedicated to pipeline safety.
“They have made some improvements,” Ruane said. “But that does not release them from paying for what they did before.”
He also called for an independent monitor to make sure the CPUC and PG&E’s relationship doesn’t get too cozy again.
A vote on the final penalty could happen as soon as next week.