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PG&E customers to foot part of pipe safety costs

By LISA LEFF Published: December 21, 2012

“We want to make sure PG&E's new management team has the resources to provide the safe system we all want,” Commissioner Mike Florio said.

The explosion prompted a series of state and federal investigations. The National Transportation Safety Board said the accident was caused by what NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman called “a litany of failures” by PG&E, as well as weak oversight by regulators.

Hersman called the explosion the nation's most significant pipeline accident in the last decade, not only in terms of its destructiveness, but also for the significant maintenance lapses it revealed.

California State Sen. Jerry Hill described the commission's decisions on how to apportion the expense of operating gas pipelines safely as a “Christmas gift” for PG&E.

“This will allow PG&E to profit from their gross negligence,” he said.

PG&E could also face hundreds of millions of dollars in possible fines in other proceedings before the commission.

Attorneys for the San Bruno blast victims have argued that PG&E did not do enough to determine if the pipeline had defective welds.

PG&E has claimed in court filings that the explosion was an accident and not due to mismanagement.

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