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Utility fined $25.6 million for recordkeeping violations.

California regulators hit PG&E with a $25.6 million fine for many recordkeeping violations that resulted in the San Bruno natural gas explosion that killed eight people in 2010.

The state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to punish the utility for failing to keep accurate records on its aging natural gas pipeline system, the East Bay Times reported.

In June, PUC Administrative Law Judge Maribeth Bushey noted that PG&E was guilty of widespread deficiencies in its recordkeeping.

"These inaccurate records were relied on for locating and marking underground facilities in anticipation of excavation," Bushey wrote in the proposed ruling. "The inaccurately mapped and consequently inaccurately marked facilities led to excavators damaging the distribution system in several instances."

Six incidents, from September 2010 to March 2014, prompted regulators to open a formal probe into PG&E's recordkeeping. Most of the incidents resulted in leaks and service interruptions. In one incident, natural gas leaked into an empty home that eventually blew up.

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation concluded that PG&E's recordkeeping played a major role in the 2010 San Bruno explosion, in which eight people died and dozens of homes were destroyed. The NTSB determined that inadequate pipeline maintenance by PG&E and lazy oversight by the PUC were also key contributors to the explosion.

In April 2015, the PUC fined PG&E $1.6 billion for causing the San Bruno disaster, the largest financial punishment ever levied on an American utility. In August 2016, a federal jury found PG&E guilty of six felony charges, including five violations of U.S. pipeline safety rules before the San Bruno blast and one count of obstructing the government's investigation.

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Title Annotation:REGULATORY ACTION; PG&E
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Nov 1, 2016
Words:282
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