PG&E pays fine for transmission pipeline explosion

SAN FRANCISCO, California - - Pacific Gas and Electric Company PG&E recently announced that it has paid a $300 million fine levied by the California Public Utilities Commission CPUC in association with the 2010 natural gas transmission pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California.

When the CPUC announced its decision on April 9, PG&E chose to move forward without an appeal. The payment to the state's General Fund is due Oct. 6. The company recently completed the sale of additional stock necessary to fund the payment.

"We want our customers and their families to know that all of us at PG&E have committed ourselves to a goal of transforming this company into the safest and most reliable energy provider in America. We've made tremendous progress, but we have more to do and we are committed to doing it right," PG&E Corporation Chairman and CEO Tony Earley said.

In addition to the $300 million fine to be paid to the state, the CPUC penalty requires that PG&E shareholders refund $400 million to gas customers and pay $850 million for gas system safety improvements.

The $400 million refund, which will be based on usage, will be returned to customers in early 2016 per the CPUCÂ’s direction.

In addition to the payment to the General Fund, the company has settled claims amounting to more than $500 million with all of the victims and families of the San Bruno accident, established a $50 million trust for the City of San Bruno for costs related to recovery and contributed $70 million to support the city's and community's recovery efforts.

As a result of the concrete actions the company has taken to make safety the cornerstone of its culture following the San Bruno explosion, PG&E became one of the first utilities ever to earn two of the highest internationally recognized safety certifications—the International Organization for Standardization ISO 55001 and Publicly Available Specification PAS 55-1. The company has taken additional actions including the following:

- Change began at the top with Tony Earley joining the company as CEO in 2011. We restructured our gas operations business and hired the best natural gas experts in the country to run it.

- We put 3,500 leaders at all levels of PG&E through safety training and we review the lessons of San Bruno with every new employee. - We have conducted advanced pipeline safety testing, replaced pipe where necessary and installed more than 200 new automated or remotely controlled emergency shut-off valves.

- We decommissioned more than 800 miles of remaining cast-iron pipe in our system, replacing with stronger, more efficient and seismically sound pipe.

- We built a new gas operations control center, employing the most advanced technology, from which we can monitor the entire system and respond more quickly and effectively to emergencies.

- We're using new gas leak detection technology that is 1,000 times more sensitive than traditional equipment in order to help find and fix leaks before they become a problem. When a customer calls to report a gas odor, we are now among the fastest in the entire industry in responding.

- We have closed out 10 of 12 recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board and work on the remaining two is on track.


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