SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California regulatory judges have recommended a $1.4 billion penalty against the state's largest utility for a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that engulfed a suburban San Francisco neighborhood in fire, killing eight people and prompting national alerts about aging pipelines. The California Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday announced the figure reached by two administrative law judges against Pacific Gas & Electric Co., saying it would be the largest safety-related penalty it had ever imposed.
PG&E can appeal the fine. The recommended penalty requires approval by members of the state utility board. PG&E and other parties in the case have 30 days to lodge an appeal. The commission previously ordered PG&E to pay $635 million for pipeline modernization after the Sept. 9, 2010, blast in the suburban San Francisco community of San Bruno.