Pacific Gas & Electric Criminally Charged for Deadly Blast
A federal grand jury recently indicted Pacific Gas & Electrics for “multiple violations” of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968. PG&E has been charged with 12 counts of criminal charges with a potential fine of up to $500,000 per count.
More about the PG&E Criminal Charges
According to the Los Angeles Times, a San Francisco jury indicted utility provider PG&E with 12 counts of criminal charges for its role in a deadly San Bruno, CA explosion in Sep. 2010. The blast killed eight people, injured dozens and destroyed 38-homes after a natural gas pipeline exploded.
The charges allege that PG&E failed to address issues with its record-keeping and pipeline management practices, knowing that records were either incomplete or inaccurate. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed that prior to the blast, maintenance work at a pipeline control center triggered electrical problems and a rise in gas pressure. Overall, the NTSB uncovered over 100 violations committed by PG&E spanning decades.
In 2013, PG&E paid out $565 million in legal settlements and other claims stemming from the 2010 explosion. Of that amount, $455 million had already been pledged by the company. The additional $110 million was paid to recent settlements and claims.
In a statement released after the charges were announced, PG&E said, “We've taken accountability and are deeply sorry. We have worked hard to do the right thing for victims, their families and the community, and we will continue to do so. We want all of our customers and their families to know that nothing will distract us from our mission of transforming this 100-plus-year-old system into the safest and most reliable natural gas system in the country.”