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PG&E to pay $70M for deadly Calif. pipeline blast

Associated Press Modified: March 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm •  Published: March 12, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has agreed to pay $70 million in restitution to San Bruno for the 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people in the San Francisco suburb, company and city officials said Monday.

In a joint statement, PG&E and San Bruno said the money will be used to establish a nonprofit organization to help the community recover from the Sept. 9, 2010, blast, which also injured dozens of people and destroyed 38 homes.

The funds will help San Bruno "get beyond the tragedy and devastation caused by PG&E's explosion and fire," said Mayor Jim Ruane. "As a community and as a city, we remain fully dedicated to assuring our community's full recovery."

The agreement does not settle about 90 civil lawsuits that victims of the explosion have filed against the San Francisco-based company. A trial has been set for July 23 in San Mateo County Superior Court.

The new nonprofit organization will determine how the restitution is spent for the benefit of the community as a whole. PG&E will make the $70 million payment within 30 days and won't seek to recover the money through insurance or customers' utility rates, officials said.

The company previously set up a $100 million fund to support emergency needs in the aftermath of the explosion in a quiet neighborhood overlooking San Francisco Bay.

PG&E President Chris Johns said: "We committed the night of the tragedy, and continue to commit, that we will help the victims and the community heal and rebuild. Today's announcement is another step in that process."

Bob Pellegrini, who sued PG&E after losing his home in the blast, said he is happy for the city but hopes the company will move quickly to compensate people directly affected by the explosion.

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