SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A federal judge Thursday imposed a $3 million fine, ordered PG&E to conduct a newspaper and television advertising campaign and required top executives to serve community service as part of the sentence in the fatal San Bruno pipeline explosion criminal case.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson also imposed the maximum fine allowed for the utility’s conviction on six felony counts.

PG&E was found guilty by a jury in August of five counts of violating a pipeline safety law and one count of obstructing an investigation into a fatal pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010.

“I find the crimes at issue to be very serious and to pose great risks to public safety,” said Henderson as he imposed the sentence.

He also placed PG&E on five years of probation, ordered the establishment of an independent monitor, and required 10,000 hours of community service of PG&E staff, including 2,000 hours from high-level personnel.

The advertising campaign must include full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal and San Francisco Chronicle, plus 12,500 60-second television ads. The messages must explain PG&E’s conviction, its sentence and the steps it has taken to remedy the safety violations.

An agreement on the terms of the ads was reached by PG&E and federal prosecutors this morning before the sentencing, after Henderson indicated on Tuesday that he planned to accept prosecutors’ request for an advertising requirement. Henderson accepted that agreement during the sentencing.


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