Utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will pay out $565 million in legal settlements and other claims stemming from the 2010 natural gas explosion in San Bruno, Calif., that killed eight people and devastated a neighborhood, company officials said this week.
The blast in September 2010 also injured dozens and destroyed 38 homes when a 54-year-old pipeline exploded underneath the San Francisco suburb.
Brittany Chord, a spokesperson for the utility, said settlements were reached with 347 victims of the incident on Friday and Monday and had previously reached settlements with 152 others. Two cases remain.
The $565 million includes $455 million that the utility had already pledged and $110 million in recent settlements and claims, Chord said.
“We have made a commitment to address the needs of this community and ensure that an accident like this never happens again,” Chord said. “There are regulatory and legal issues that have yet to be resolved but our focus is on helping the community rebuild and on working to make our natural gas system the safest in the nation.”
She said there are proposals from state regulators to levy fines in the billions.
“We believe that a $4-billion fine is excessive and we also believe that that could potentially hinder our ability to make our system safer,” Chord said.
“We are committed to making our system one of the safest in the nation and we believe that any fine or penalty issued by the commission should go straight to pipeline safety,” she said.