The deadly San Bruno, California natural gas pipeline explosions that killed eight people and injured dozens of others in Sept. 2010 continue to be a costly disaster for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the utility company that owned the faulty infrastructure.
California utility regulators issued fines to PG&E Thursday totaling $97.5 million after investigations found evidence of, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, improper back-channel communications between the utility company and the California Public Utilities Commission – the same agency issuing the penalty.
The Commission unanimously approved the penalty, which requires PG&E to pay $6 million each to the cities of San Bruno and San Carlos, and $12 million to the state’s general fund.
Additionally, PG&E is required to not collect $63.5 million in revenue it otherwise would have collected from its customers in 2018 and 2019 and forgo another $10 million the next time the Public Utilities Commission adjusts PG&E’s rates.
According to The Mercury News, PG&E will not be allowed to recoup these fines by passing them on to its customers.
PG&E, California’s largest utility company, has paid multiple fines for its misconduct in connection with the San Bruno blasts. The largest was a 2015 penalty imposed by the Public Utilities Commission for $1.6 billion.
PG&E also became a convicted felon in 2016 when a federal jury convicted it of six felonies for failing to properly inspect and repair its aging natural gas pipelines and for interfering with a federal investigation of the San Bruno explosions.
The utility has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars resolving lawsuits connected to the blast and resulting fire, which leveled dozens of homes and left several people with serious burn injuries.
Additionally, PG&E is facing dozens of lawsuits filed by insurance companies in connection to the wildfires that decimated large swaths of the state’s North Bay wine country in October, killing 43 people and damaging or destroying 14,700 homes, 728 businesses, and 3,600 vehicles.