PG&E To Pay $565 Million In Third-Party Lawsuit Settlements After San Bruno Blast

SAN BRUNO, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  A San Mateo County Sheriff deputy stands guard on a street devastated by fire following a dead
SAN BRUNO, CA - SEPTEMBER 13: A San Mateo County Sheriff deputy stands guard on a street devastated by fire following a deadly gas main explosion on September 13, 2010 in San Bruno, California. State regulators have ordered Pacific Gas & Electric to inspect all of their gas lines following a deadly blast that destroyed thirty eight homes, severely damaged dozens more and killed at least four people in a San Bruno, California neighborhood near San Francisco International Airport on the evening of September 9. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California utility Pacific Gas & Electric expects to pay a total of $565 million in third-party settlements for the deadly 2010 gas line explosion that killed eight people and injured dozens in San Bruno, Calif., the utility said Tuesday.

The settlement total is the outcome of hundreds of lawsuits filed by blast victims who suffered injuries, lost family members or homes in the incident. PG&E has settled all but two claims, which it hopes to close shortly.

“Since the accident our goal has been to help the community rebuild,” said PG&E spokesperson Brittany Chord to The Huffington Post.

Chord told the Associated Press that the money will come from shareholders and insurance, not from ratepayers.

The $565 million is in addition to what may amount to a $4 billion fine by the Public Utilities Commission for faulty record-keeping that contributed to the blast.

During a hearing before the agency’s chief administrative law judge, the PUC discovered that PG&E had told state regulators that the pipeline was safe, but had not actually kept accurate records, according to the Oakland Tribune.

In the years following the incident, investigations revealed what the National Transportation Safety Board called a “litany of failures” contributing to the blast, including inaccurate record-keeping, insufficient pipeline welds, a failure to spend $50 million collected by ratepayers on promised safety upgrades and other factors. In the months following the incident, a PG&E manager also claimed that he was fired for refusing to mislead regulators in the wake of the explosion.

NTSB also noted that lax state and federal regulations likely contributed to the incident.

Though investigators said that PG&E failures spanned several decades, the company claims that it is committed to fixing the deep-rooted problems that contributed to the incident.

“We hope to make our system one of the safest in the nation,” Chord told HuffPost. “We’ve made significant progress. We’ve strengthened hundreds of miles of pipeline and we’ve modernized our entire system. But there’s still more work to be done.”



San Bruno Fire