A judge with the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday issued a $24.3 million dollar fine against PG&E for keeping faulty or inaccurate records regarding natural gas lines in more than a dozen cities across California. The San Francisco Business Times reports that this fine, which the company may appeal, followed the explosion of a Carmel home in 2014 which regulators blamed on PG&E's poor record keeping.
“The wrongdoing implicates the safe operation of a natural gas system, which is by its very nature dangerous,” explained CPUC judge Maribeth Bushey. “Complete compliance with safety requirements is essential.”
According to Bay City News, faulty record keeping by the company led to pipeline damage, gas releases, as well as service outages in cities including Mountain View, Castro Valley, and Milpitas.
This is entirely separate from the infamous 2010 San Bruno blast which killed eight people, injured 66, and destroyed 38 homes. A criminal trial regarding potential violations of pipeline rules resulting in the explosion was scheduled to begin in April of this year.
Speaking of yesterday's CPUC decision, PG&E spokesman Donald Cutler said that the company has yet to decide whether or not to appeal. "We’re currently reviewing [it],” he explained in a statement. “We’ve made significant improvements to our distribution records to promote safety, reduce risk and enhance reliability. We have more work to do and we are dedicated to doing it right.”
Fortunately, no one was injured in the 2014 Carmel explosion as the house was empty at the time.