PG&E to pay $70mn for 2010 deadly pipeline accident

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E, NYSE: PCG) agreed to pay the city of San Bruno, Calif. $70 million in restitution after a September 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people.

News reports said the agreement calls for a $70 million payment to be made by PG&E within 30 days. The city is expected to use the money to reportedly establish a non-profit entity to manage the funds and determine how they will be used. PG&E also made a $100 million commitment to restore the neighborhood, compensate victims for their losses and replace and repair the city’s infrastructure.

“San Bruno has suffered through a terrible tragedy and we understand that this accident will affect this community forever,” Chris Johns, PG&E’s president, was quoted as saying. “We will continue to work with the victims and the community as a whole to address their needs.”

A natural gas pipeline ruptured on Sept. 9, 2011, sending fire into a neighborhood. Eight were killed, dozens injured and 38 homes destroyed. PG&E crews were doing electrical work at the time and lost control of pressure in the pipeline, leading to the blast, according to reports. In August 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board said welding defects that weakened the pipeline over time caused it to rupture, and also blamed the accident on PG&E’s poor management of the pipeline and a lack of oversight by state and federal regulators.

In Dec. 2011, PG&E was fined $38 million for a 2008 gas pipeline explosion that killed one and injured five in Rancho Cordova.

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