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PGC&E guilty on six of 12 criminal charges

Published by
World Pipelines,

California’s largest utility was found guilty on six criminal counts on Tuesday 9 August, related to a deadly gas pipeline explosion in 2010.

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. (PCG&E) was convicted by a San Francisco jury of obstructing a federal investigation into the blast, as well as on five of 11 charges that it violated federal pipeline safety regulations.

The explosion and ensuing fire in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno, California, destroyed a neighbourhood, leaving eight people dead and 58 injured. The disaster was blamed on a 60 year old distribution pipe that had not been properly assessed as high risk.

The company argued that its workers were not wilfully negligent, but rather confused by myriad federal regulations. Prosecutors said PG&E put profits ahead of safety, then attempted to cover up mistakes.

California’s Public Utilities Commission hit PG&E with a record US$1.6 billion fine for negligence in 2015. The 9 August verdicts will cost PG&E a maximum of US$3 million in penalties, which will be paid by shareholders.

Edited from source by Stephanie Roker

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