San Bruno Officials Seeks Settlement with PG&E Over 2010 Pipeline Explosion

City officials from San Bruno, Calif., have expressed their desire to resume settlement talks with Pacific Gas & Electric Company over the 2010 explosion of a natural gas pipeline in the San Francisco suburb that killed eight people.

State regulators are nearing a decision on a proposed $2.25 billion penalty for the company. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Earley said in an interview in August that a fine of that size could bankrupt the utility. San Bruno officials say PG&E’s own expert witness refuted that idea.

Earley, who became CEO in 2011, canceled a meeting planned with city officials for April 30, 2013, as his office expressed “a level of dissatisfaction” with statements the city made to the press, according to City Manager Connie Jackson.

Jackson said that the time for settlement talks is running out, as the administrative law judges in charge of the penalty process are nearing a conclusion.

San Bruno has already received a $50 million trust and $70 million in restitution for the blast, according to PG&E spokeswoman Brittany Chord.

To complicate matters, corrosion was recently discovered on a pipeline beneath San Carlos, some 15 miles from San Bruno. Jackson said the discovery shows that PG&E has not learned the lessons of the fatal 2010 blast.

Chord said the San Carlos line is operating within safety parameters established following the San Bruno incident.

In a recent interview, San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane said that PG&E has to pay. “And it has to hurt,” he added.

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