$1.6 billion fine for PG&E explosion

The California Public Utilities Commission Thursday imposed a $1.6 billion penalty, its largest ever, on PG&E for the unsafe operation of its gas transmission system and the deadly pipeline rupture in San Bruno in 2010.

Eight people died and 38 houses were destroyed in an explosion and fire that followed the rupture of a high-pressure PG&E natural gas pipeline on Sept. 9, 2010.

The pipeline segment had a defective seam weld and PG&E improperly listed it in its records as being seamless.

Thursday decision by the CPUC at its meeting in San Francisco orders PG&E to pay $850 million in pipeline safety improvements, $300 million to the state’s general fund, $400 million in a one-time bill credit to the utility’s gas customers, and about $50 million toward other pipeline safety measures.