"PUC Staff Recommends $300 Million Fine For PG&E Over San Bruno Blast"

"SAN BRUNO -- Taking a tougher stand against PG&E, a revamped state regulatory body on Tuesday recommended that the utility be fined at least $300 million -- the largest ever imposed by the Public Utilities Commission -- as part of a $2.25 billion penalty for the company's role in the deadly San Bruno natural gas explosion."

"While the total dollar amount of the proposed penalty is unchanged, the new recommendation differs starkly from a prior one by the PUC's Safety and Enforcement Division, and would remove much of the burden from ratepayers to finance needed improvements and upgrades to the utility's vast system of natural gas pipelines. In fact, PG&E's natural gas customers could eventually see lower monthly bills for gas service, according to The Utility Reform Network, or TURN.

'The differences between the two proposals are night and day,' said TURN's legal director, Thomas Long. 'The first proposal was smoke and mirrors. This is a real proposal that holds PG&E accountable for serious and unprecedented violations of the law that led to the explosion.'"

George Avalos reports for the Oakland Tribune July 16, 2013.

Source: Oakland Tribune, 07/17/2013