(SAN FRANCISCO) — The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday announced a $1.6 billion penalty leveled against Pacific Gas and Electric Company for unsafe operation of its gas pipelines, including a rupture that resulted in the destruction of 38 homes and damage to 70 more.
Thursday’s decision forces PG&E to pay $850 million in gas transmission pipeline safety infrastructure improvements. Those improvements, the CPUC says, will be spent on capital improvements and not add to the utility’s rate base, ensuring it does not make a profit on that money.
“PG&E failed to uphold the public’s trust,” CPUC President Michael Picker said in a statement. “The CPUC failed to keep vigilant. Lives were lost. Numerous people were injured. Homes were destroyed. We must do everything we can to ensure that nothing like this happens again.”
Picker called the penalty “one of the biggest utility sanctions in U.S. history.”
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